2 June 2004

The Nationals' member for Lismore, Thomas George, has encouraged Northern Rivers travellers to continue to support regional airline Rex, following the announcements by QantasLink and Virgin Blue of new services to the region.

Mr George said while he welcomed any efforts to further Northern Rivers tourism and increase services for the local community, he hoped Rex would continue to have a role to play in the region amid the arm wrestle between the two major carriers.

"While the big two airlines fight over Ballina, let's not forget that Rex was here providing a service in the difficult times," Mr George said.

"When other airlines apparently saw the region as a lost cause and the state government was encouraging people to visit the area via the Gold Coast Airport, Rex believed in the region's potential.

"By offering competitive fares and providing extra flights to meet increased demand to both Lismore and Ballina, Rex has proven that there is room for the Northern Rivers' two excellent airports.

"While I am pleased that the major carriers have seen the light, I urge travellers to continue to use the outstanding services offered by Rex."

Mr George called on the NSW Government to ensure it's significant spend on air travel to and from the Northern Rivers was shared between the airlines.

"As a major user of air travel in the region for official business, the Government has a large role to play in ensuring there is a level playing field for airlines.

"Given that Qantas is the NSW Government's travel agent, I trust the Premier and his team will ensure not just Qantas, but all airlines have an opportunity to attract Government travel," Mr George said.

Contact Details:

Office: 55 Carrington Street  LISMORE
Postal: PO Box 52  LISMORE  NSW  2480
Telephone: 1800 336 166 or 02 6621 3624
Facsimile: 02 6622 1403  Email: lismore@parliament.nsw.gov.au

Authorised by Thomas George MP. Funded using Parliamentary entitlements.