Ballina Byron Gateway Airport.
Ballina Byron Gateway Airport.

It ‘sucks’ Ballina and Lismore missed out on flight subsidies

It absolutely sucks Ballina and poor old Lismore have missed out on the federal govenrment’s $1.2bn package to stimulate the struggling airline and tourism sector.

It seems the loudest whingers got appeased first, with 13 locations chosen for discounted flights including the Gold Coast, Cairns, the Whitsundays region, the Sunshine Coast, Uluru, Alice Springs, Launceston, Devonport, Burnie, Broome, Avalon, Merimbula and Kangaroo Island.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk seems to be getting rewarded for her decision to shut her state’s borders to NSW during the worst of the COVID-19 crisis.

This shutdown had a devastating impact on the economy of the Northern Rivers of NSW.

And yet with the borders reopened, the Gold Coast gets chosen as a destination for support but not Ballina and certainly not Lismore.

Routes and ticket numbers are still being worked out with half-price fares being offered with Qantas, Virgin and Jetstar.

It seems the destinations chosen were the ones most heavily reliant on international tourism.

What about us?

This region is normally teeming with international tourists, who also underpin the tourism, hospitality and agricultural sectors.

The Northern Rivers has once again been ingored by decision-makers in Canberrra and Sydney, who seem to have a blind spot when it comes to giving our region a leg up.

Discounted fares will be available for sale on airline websites from April 1.

It’s understood that more locations and routes could be included later in the year.

Let’s hope if a second roll out of this scheme was in the wings, then Ballina and Lismore could be included.



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