Treasurer Affirms Importance of Customer-led Infrastructure

The government’s motivation to make airports more accountable to the community and the travelling public attests to the importance of customer stewardship as a means of driving continuous improvement in the quality and service of infrastructure.

The effectiveness of Australia’s major airports has been acknowledged by Treasurer Frydenberg in his recent affirmation of existing light-handed airport regulation in response to the Productivity Commission (PC) airport regulation review.

To this end, the Treasurer has endorsed the PC’s recommendation for more transparency on performance outcomes that address customers’ expectations to enable more timely monitoring of airports.

All airports have a mutual interest in staying well focussed on their customers because failings by one airport risks a regulatory response for all. Airport management teams that might be tempted to rest on their laurels should heed the Treasurer’s warning that the Government “would not hesitate to bring forward the next PC Inquiry into the economic regulation of airports and review available regulatory options to address concerns”.

This serves as a timely reminder that delivering outstanding customer stewardship is not only good for customers, it also mitigates the risk of governments resorting to more regulation to address concerns about quality and pricing of services.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will be asked to review current airport quality of service indicators to ensure they focus on outcomes that matter from the point of view of passengers, airlines and other airport customers.

The CSA will provide its view to the ACCC on useful indicators to underpin long term customer stewardship.  Further information on the government’s response to the report is provided here.

Patricia Pascuzzo
Customer Stewardship Australia
February 2020