An airline price monitoring program run by the competition watchdog is set to be reinstated after it lapsed at the end of June when the Albanese government opted against its extension.

The monitoring regime, operated by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), was established by former treasurer Josh Frydenberg during the pandemic to ensure healthy competition in the aviation industry after Virgin Australia entered administration.

Under the program, routes, capacity, pricing, passenger loads and financial performance, were detailed in quarterly reports.

However, the Albanese government chose to not renew the program despite the ACCC’s final report outlining that the airline industry was behaving as an “effective duopoly”.

In a joint statement released on Wednesday evening, Treasurer Jim Chalmer and Transport Minister Catherine King said the program’s reinstatement would ensure greater transparency across the aviation sector.

“The former government scheduled the end of monitoring for June 2023 but we’ve found a better way to restart it,” Dr Chalmers and Ms King said.

“We want a safe, sustainable and efficient aviation sector that provides a high standard of service, good prices and better consumer protections for Australians.

“A competitive airline industry helps to put downward pressure on prices and deliver more choice for Australians facing cost-of-living pressures.”

The ministers promised that the refreshed ACCC monitoring regime would be used to help inform the Aviation White Paper.

In documents tabled to a Senate inquiry earlier this month, it was revealed the Treasurer’s office had no in-principle objection to the continuation of the ACCC price monitoring, provided its extension was a priority of Ms King.

In late September, ACCC chairwoman Gina Cass-Gottlieb called on the government for a new mandate to examine competition in the aviation sector.

“We do see a case for reinstatement of a direction that would look to the status of competition, and survey prices, costs and the manner of operations,” she told The Guardian at the time.

A Coalition-led Senate probe into the federal government’s air service agreements also recommended the program be reinstated.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *