Moree says no to deregulation of Moree-Sydney air service

HOW IT’S PANNED OUT:

A TOWN meeting was held in Moree on Thursday evening to gauge community opinions.

Attendees were asked if they were for or against a possible deregulation of Moree-Sydney Air Service, on behalf of Transport for NSW.

One hundred per cent voted against deregulation and were passionate in voicing their many reasons.

Moree vet Charlie Bunce said regulation suited as his family often flew internationally.

“We don’t even have to look at other airlines, we book all flights through Qantas.

“We also don’t want to end up like Narrabri, deregulated without any air service,” he said.

Businessman Theo Zannes honestly said the Moree-Sydney route was, at time, expensive.

“We’re already regulated; It’s not broken so don’t try and fix it.”

Theo Zannes

One crowd member shared his personal, and unpleasant, experience flying in New Zealand on a deregulated route.

“The carrier just cancelled the flight and said ‘you’re can wait around in the airport for another six or seven hours’.

“We need regulation and to be fair to QantasLink 34,000 seats is probably not enough to be fling so we have to wear the prices if we want the service and we definitely want the service.”

Leonie shared her concerns for the region’s ill, elderly and disabled who regularly fly to Sydney for medical reasons.

“Other second-rate airlines may not cater for these people and if they don’t what will happen to them? They need ongoing medical services that are not available out here.”

“We are three hours from a regular service so, realistically, Moree is a hub for places like Goondiwindi, St George, Mungindi, Walgett and Narrabri.

“People from outer-lying areas like Walgett like the fact you can fly to Sydney to see your specialist in the morning and come back to Moree on the evening flight with Qantas,” mayor Katrina Humphries added.

Pius-X Aboriginal Corporation chair Cathy Duncan said a regulated service meant more security for specialists who fly to Moree.

“We need a professional, reliable service as we fly in specialists on a regular basis who service the indigenous and non-indigenous community of Moree.

“If we have a second-rate air service will our specialists come?” she asked.

Archie Karam urged the whole community to join as one, loud voice to Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance.

“The community has got to get behind this, the whole lot has to stand up and say we don’t want it.”

Josh McGregor spoke to QantasLink about the overwhelming support from community members to keep the route regulated.

“QantasLink said Moree-Sydney was a solid route for them that doesn’t have the ups and downs of rural mining communities.

Moree Plains Shire Council revealed the results of its survey (as of Thursday afternoon) at the meeting.

In it, more than 90 per cent of respondents voted against deregulation.

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