Ms TIERNEY (Western Victoria) — My question is to the Minister responsible for the Aviation Industry. I refer to the government’s commitment to build a railway line to Avalon Airport and to last week’s decision by Tiger Airways to reduce services from Avalon in favour of Tullamarine. I ask: what measures does the government have in place to specifically increase aviation activity at Avalon in order to ensure the viability of its infrastructure investment?
Hon. G. K. RICH-PHILLIPS (Minister responsible for the Aviation Industry) — I thank Ms Tierney for her question about Avalon Airport. While the issue of the rail link to Avalon, as I have previously informed the house, sits with the Minister for Public Transport, Ms Tierney asks about supporting Avalon Airport.
I would say to Ms Tierney that one of the government’s key areas of supporting development at Avalon Airport is to support its development as an international airport, which the previous government did not come to the party on when the commonwealth was reluctant to go down this path.
This government is very committed to seeing Avalon develop as Melbourne’s second international airport. It is important for Victoria to have two international airports, to have competitive tension. One of the great problems that exists in Sydney is the lack of competitive tension in airport services in New South Wales. The Victorian government is very supportive of Avalon’s ambitions to become a second international airport for Melbourne.
Ms TIERNEY (Western Victoria) — Labor, in government and in opposition, is a strong supporter of Avalon — —
Honourable members interjecting.
The PRESIDENT — Order! That was most unnecessary. Ms Tierney will take it from the top, and in silence.
Ms TIERNEY — Labor, in government and in opposition, is a strong supporter of Avalon Airport, and I want to know: if the government’s efforts are unsuccessful and aviation activity continues to decline, will the government reconsider or amend its infrastructure investment at Avalon Airport?
Hon. G. K. RICH-PHILLIPS (Minister responsible for the Aviation Industry) — I thank Ms Tierney for her supplementary question.
The reality of the aviation industry is that we have two annual timetable cycles: a winter cycle and a summer cycle. The flights allocated to each route and to each airport change on a six-monthly cycle. The government is not going to be making decisions around infrastructure investment made on individual flight decisions on six-monthly cycles. The government’s commitment remains to support the development of infrastructure at Avalon Airport. As I have told the house previously, the rail link project sits with the Minister for Public Transport, but the government’s commitment to Avalon remains, and we look forward to that facility developing and expanding to provide additional competitive tension in aviation in Victoria.