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Moree-Sydney flight route licensing process now underway: Shire residents urged to have their say

TRANSPORT for NSW today began the process for licensing of intrastate air services between Sydney Airport and Moree, calling for expressions of interest from potential operators.

Following protestations from the Moree Plains community and strong representations by the Council in 2017, the route has remained regulated and is currently licensed to QantasLink until September 29, 2018.

The current licensing process will result in the allocation of a license for a period of two years.

Following the two-week expressions of interest period, operators that meet Transport for NSW eligibility criteria will then be invited to submit a license application, over a period of four weeks. All applications will be reviewed by an evaluation committee that will include representatives from Transport for NSW, with Moree Plains Shire Council general manager Lester Rodgers appointed as a non-voting advisor to the committee.

Passengers disembark at Moree Airport. Licensing for the renewal of the Moree-Sydney flight route is now up for tender (Image Copyright Bill Poulos)

Moree Plains Shire Council is aware that this route is of critical importance to residents and the economic viability of the Shire, and believes that residents will be keen to provide input into the awarding of the license.

Residents will have the opportunity to provide their opinions on the most important criteria for the awarding of the license, with Council seeking input via an online survey. Residents with strong views on the matter are also encouraged to provide a written submission to Council.

Moree Plains Shire Council general manager Lester Rodgers implores the community to speak up on the issue.

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“The more responses we have from the community, the better equipped we will be to accurately advise the evaluation panel on the best fit for the community’s needs,” Mr Rodgers said.

Mayor Katrina Humphries said: “We are well aware that the Moree-Sydney flight route is of the utmost priority to the community; a community that needs a dependable and cost effective carrier to ensure that people can have equitable access to health care, recreation, training and business development, and to visit family and friends.

“The people of the Plains deserve the same access to services and recreation as people on the eastern seaboard. Council will ensure that we take on board the sentiments of the community, and provide solid advice to the review panel to ensure they understand the needs of our rural community,” she said.

“I urge residents, businesses and community organisations to take the time to fill in the survey and voice your opinion via a written submission, so that the review panel can hear our cries loud and clear, and ensure the successful operator is the right fit for our needs,” Cr Humphries said.  

The survey can be found online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/S7G6QF3.

Hard copies of the survey and written submissions can be submitted at Moree Plains Shire Council’s Max Centre, Boggabilla and Mungindi offices, or the Moree Big Sky Library.

 Alternatively, written submissions can also be emailed to [email protected].