Page 1592 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 2 June 2021

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I am pleased also to observe that increased competition between airlines is making it cheaper and easier to visit Canberra, as well as for Canberrans to visit the rest of the country. In April, we welcomed Rex Airlines to the Canberra market, beginning with their seven services daily between Canberra and Sydney. This month, obviously pending the Victorian lockdown, they are scheduled to begin their Canberra-Melbourne route.

Of course, Rex is just the latest in a number of airlines who have expanded their operations into Canberra, including FlyPelican, Alliance Airlines and Link Airways. Rex’s entry into the Canberra-Melbourne market is a key example of the government’s aviation policies encouraging greater competition, and with a one-way ticket on that very busy route dropping to as low as $69, Canberra tourism operators and tourists are the winners.

Our growing aviation network is also a clear signal of confidence in the region’s broader tourism sector. So from here the territory government will continue working with Canberra Airport to work with other airlines, and existing ones, to attract more flights to and from the ACT. Whilst it is going to be a little bit of time before we see more frequent international travel, we will continue prioritising the establishment of new domestic and trans-Tasman services in partnership with our counterparts across the ditch.

MS ORR: A further supplementary: Chief Minister, what work is underway to re-establish flights between Canberra and New Zealand?

MR BARR: An extensive amount of work, and I thank Ms Orr for the question. Just last week I was in New Zealand working with key aviation and government figures on establishing direct flights with a focus on Canberra-Auckland and Canberra-Wellington. Of course, members would be aware that we have enjoyed direct flights to Wellington before and we are committed to re-establishing a mutually beneficial connection between the ACT and New Zealand.

I am pleased to inform the Assembly that these discussions have been very positive and there is genuine interest in introducing direct flights to and from Canberra and New Zealand. There is scope for different airlines to connect Canberra to different New Zealand cities, catering for distinct markets. Being a larger airport hub, Auckland also presents opportunities to connect Canberra with the rest of the world, particularly destinations in North and South America, as international travel re-emerges in 2022 and 2023.

Health—COVID-19 vaccination rollout

MR PARTON: My question is to the Minister for Health. On Friday last week a 78-year-old contacted the Canberra Liberals to say that she had phoned the ACT government number to book her vaccination as her GP is not administering the vaccine. She made the call at 4.20 pm and she was shocked to find that she was 55th in the queue! And she wondered if it were really possible for 55 people to be in the queue. She waited for 40 minutes on hold until she was 22nd in the queue, at which

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