Victoria’s north-west corner will be better connected to the state’s capital under a Liberals and Nationals capped-price flights trial.
A Matt Guy Liberals and Nationals Government will launch a $23 million trial to cap return airfares to Melbourne from Mildura at $100, saving residents hundreds of dollars.
Those living within 150 kilometres of Mildura will be eligible for two $100 return flights to the state’s capital over the next two years, meaning that residents won’t be forced to spend countless hours on buses or driving the state’s crumbling road network to be with family and friends.
Regional areas were decimated during the pandemic, and those on the border felt the harsh impact of Labor’s lockdowns as hard as most.
Air traffic at Mildura Airport was brought to a standstill, and flights and services were cut almost immediately, some of which are yet to return. Tourism in Mildura plummeted around 30 per cent from its annual value of $550 million as a result.
If successful, the Liberals and Nationals will extend the capped flights trial further.
Leader of the Liberal Party, Matt Guy, said the trial means Mildura residents will spend less time on the road.
“Part of Mildura’s beauty is its isolation, but that can come at a hefty price for those looking to get to Melbourne with return flights often costing more than $400,” Mr Guy said.
“Our plan will make it easier and cheaper for locals to get to and from home, ensuring time spent with friends and family, or important appointments, aren’t missed.
“Capping return flights at $100 is a real solution to the growing cost of living and transport. Mildura locals have called for flight subsidies for some time, and we’ll deliver it.”
Leader of The Nationals, Peter Walsh, said Mildura had been neglected when it comes to transport options.
“Mildura has been left behind by the Andrews Labor Government,” Mr Walsh said.
“Capped flights are a real alternative to passenger rail, which can’t be considered until the botched Murray Basin Rail Project has been completed.
“The Liberals and Nationals have already committed the necessary $5 million to complete a business case for the Murray Basin Rail Project – something Labor refuses to match.
“While Mildura Independent Ali Cupper begs Dan Andrews and Labor for infrastructure and investment, a Liberals and Nationals Government will immediately provide a fast and affordable transport solution.”