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WA extends airfare support with $64.6m boost to regional caps

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The Cook Labor Government invests $64.6 million to extend the Regional Airfare Zone Cap, aiding affordability for residents flying to Perth.

AUSTRALIA – Significant cost-of-living relief will continue to flow to regional residents through the 2024-25 State Budget, with the Cook Labor Government committing an additional $64.6 million to its flagship Regional Airfare Zone Cap (RAZC) scheme.

The RAZC scheme was a key election commitment from the WA Labor Government and has been enormously successful, helping thousands of regional residents manage the costs of flying to and from Perth since it was established in mid-2022.

The scheme caps the cost of airfares for regional residents year-round at $199 or $299 one-way on return flights to Perth for personal travel and is delivered in partnership with Airnorth, Nexus Airlines, Qantas Airways, Rex, Skippers Aviation and Virgin Australia.

The new $64.6 million investment will extend the scheme until the end of 2025 – ensuring regional residents can continue to access affordable airfares throughout the Government’s scheduled review of the initiative from mid-2025.

The major funding injection comes as the latest statistics show more than a quarter of a million capped airfares have now been flown since the scheme’s inception.

A total of 254,844 capped airfares were flown in the first 18 months with Karratha, Port Hedland, Kalgoorlie and Broome seeing the highest usage of the scheme.

Karratha residents have taken the largest number of zone cap fares at 63,373, with Port Hedland, Kalgoorlie and Broome all seeing around 30,000 capped fares flown.

The Cook Labor Government will also deliver $21.3 million for upgrades to regional airstrips including Carnarvon, Onslow, Albany, East Kimberley and Eucla. A total of $8 million will be allocated to critical upgrades to the Carnarvon Airstrip, while $13.3 million has been committed to upgrades at East Kimberley, Albany, Eucla and Onslow pending the outcomes of funding agreements.

A further $8 million has also been allocated to the Aboriginal Community Airstrip Renewal Program.

Comments attributed to Transport Minister Rita Saffioti:

“We established this scheme to help regional residents manage the cost of flying to and from Perth and this major injection in funding will ensure we continue to support families manage cost of living pressures.

“Flying to and from Perth for regional residents is not always a choice and we’d heard repeatedly from regional residents about the significant cost barrier when it came to flying to Perth for family reasons or to access essential services.

“Now, 18 months into the scheme, more than a quarter of a million capped airfares have been used by regional residents, which is a clear indication that this initiative is making a real difference to regional communities.

“By making air travel from the regions to Perth more affordable, our Government is helping to ease cost of living pressures, while building stronger regional communities and the State’s aviation capacity.”

Route Capped fares flown – July 2022 to December 2023
Karratha 63,373
Port Hedland 33,999
Kalgoorlie 33,987
Broome 30,242
Esperance 19,678
Paraburdoo 17,548
Albany 13,403
Carnarvon 10,063
Exmouth 8,990
Geraldton 8,536
Newman 7,629
Kununurra 4,608
Monkey Mia 1,473
Leonora 470
Meekatharra 429
Laverton 276
Wiluna 127
Mount Magnet 13
Grand Total 254,844
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