MATT SHIRVINGTON: Chair of the Cost of Living Committee Senator Jane Hume joins me now. Good morning to you Tony Sheldon very vocal during the hearing, even questioning Alan Joyce about his salary was his pursuit fair or did he go a little bit too far?
JANE HUME: In fact, there were a number of Senators that were present at the cost of living hearing yesterday and we heard three things that were quite confronting. The first was that there's nearly half a billion dollars worth of flight credits still outstanding from cancelled flights, particularly during COVID, that will expire by the end of December, around December. And if customers don't take up those flight credits, well, that will simply go back to Qantas' bottom line. We also heard that the Qantas lobbied the Albanese government very heavily to prevent them allowing Qatar Airways additional routes from Australia to Doha, which would then go on to Europe. That would provide an additional around million seats per year, which of course increasing the competition would bring down the cost of airfares for Australians and the Albanese Government have denied that they actually went against departmental advice after lobbying from Qantas. Now, that in itself is a great concern because it means that the government is actually artificially keeping airfares high because it's not introducing more competition. And not only that, but then in addition to that, Qantas were very pleased to hear that the government has really let the ACCC, the watchdog that looks at competition off the hook of monitoring the airline industry.
MATT SHIRVINGTON: Well Jane, public perception was that high air fares were because they were trying to recover from COVID right. Did you feel like you got to the bottom of that with considering the record profits that they posted?
JANE HUME: There's no doubt that airlines are a complicated industry. However, we know that if you increase competition, you decrease prices, whether it be in airlines, whether it be in energy, whether it be in housing, that's why we need the government to do more. If your viewers would like to contribute their experience of high cost of living, they can do so to the committee on yourcostofliving.au and they can speak to the Senators directly.