Petitions: Regional Australia - Airports
Senator Patrick: I seek leave to make a short statement in relation to the petition on regional airport security.
The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.
Senator Patrick: This is a petition of 1,634 predominantly regional South Australians to the Senate requesting that it agree that security screening in regional airports be paid for by the federal government, not regional communities. Air travel is the lifeblood of regional communities. It's how they get their medical support, how they get education services, how they get business services, and how they get access to assistance in terms of agricultural support and so forth. The government has introduced a requirement for security screenings but will not pay for the ongoing operating costs. This is going to cause great problems in relation to regional air routes. We know Whyalla is going to charged an extra $52 per seat to meet this requirement, and it will basically risk the viability of a number of air routes right around South Australia but more broadly around the country.