Katherine residents are fed up with paying high prices for airfares.
A Senate inquiry into regional airfares has received 14 submissions from NT tourism companies, lobby groups and MLAs.
Key points revealed people were driving to Darwin for cheaper airfares, others were foregoing weddings and funerals due to expensive airfares and concern regional tourism is being priced out of the market.
Last year Katherine Times ran a series of stories on the high rate of professional turnover in Katherine.
Many young professionals said they would stay in Katherine longer, but the cost of travelling home to see family was too high.
Flights from Katherine to Alice Springs are as high as $678 return.
You can book a flight from Brisbane to Hawaii for $667 return.
They said the isolation was preventing them from settling down in Katherine, impeding our population growth.
The Isolated Children Parents’ Association said attending boarding schools is often the only option for many bush kids in the region.
“In the majority of cases these boarding schools are a significant distance from the family home,” the submission reads.
“The cost of airfares, often up to eight times a year, for trips home for the school holidays poses a real financial strain to families. This cost is amplified when families have more than one child away at school.”
They recommended airfares from Katherine should be subsidised by the NT Government to “improve the standard of living of local residents in regional and remote communities by making air travel to more affordable”.
From May 1 Airnorth will offer flights out of Katherine every week day.
Services on the Centre Run will increase between Darwin and Alice Springs via the regional centres of Katherine and Tennant Creek.
The NT Government is providing funding support for this service over a three year period to October 2018
“Importantly, this route service has supported the economic and social development of Katherine and Tennant Creek townships by enabling improved business, leisure and tourism travel opportunities and more efficient service delivery,” the NT Government submission to the inquiry says.
“The Northern Territory Government sought assistance from the Australian Government through a contribution from the Remote Air Services Subsidy Scheme, however funding was not forthcoming.”
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