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Local Fare Scheme—airfare subsidy for regional and remote Queensland

The Local Fare Scheme is an airfare subsidy that aims to improve the standard of living of local residents in regional and remote Far North Queensland communities, by making air travel to neighbouring communities more affordable.

The airfare subsidy is available until 30 June 2022 for local residents who can demonstrate they currently live, and have lived for the last 3 years, in a Local Fare Scheme region. Residents may receive a discount of up to $400 for return airfare bookings when travelling between:

  • Cape York and Cairns: Aurukun, Coen, Kowanyama, Lockhart River, Portland Roads, Northern Peninsula Area – Seisia, New Mapoon, Bamaga, Umagico and Injinoo, Pormpuraaw, Mapoon, Napranum and Weipa—map of local air routes
  • Gulf of Carpentaria and Cairns or Mount Isa: Doomadgee and Mornington Island—map of local air routes
  • Horn (Ngurupai) Island and Cairns
  • Outer Torres Strait Islands and Horn (Ngurupai) Island: Badu, Talbot (Boigu), Coconut (Poruma), Darnley (Erub), Mabuiag, Kubin, Murray (Mer), Saibai, Sue (Warraber), Yam (Iama) and Yorke (Masig) Islands—map of local air routes

To be eligible for the scheme, local residents must provide a letter from their local council to prove they currently live, and have lived for the last 3 years, in a Local Fare Scheme region.

Conditions

  • Up to $400 discount for return travel (including GST)—up to $200 discount is applied to each one-way fare (including GST) and the minimum fare payable is $99 each way (including GST) plus booking fees.
  • Residents must book return travel, one way flights are not eligible.
  • Residents must apply for and be issued with a Letter of Eligibility through their local council before being able to book discounted fares under the Local Fare Scheme.
  • Discounted airfares under the scheme must be made in person and are only available through a local ticketing agent.
  • Discount applies at the airline's discretion.
  • Discount cannot be applied to entry level airfares or tactical sale fares.
  • Fare rules are in accordance with the fare type booked, set by airlines.
  • Entry level and sale fares excluded—the discount applies to a range of fare types at the airline's discretion but is not available in relation to entry level airfares or tactical sale fares.
  • Discount is for personal air travel only, not for any form of business use.
  • Not to be used in conjunction with any other government travel subsidy.
  • Use is limited to 12 times per financial year, per person.
  • Only for use on scheduled air services to selected communities in Cape York, Gulf of Carpentaria and the Torres Strait.
  • Not for use on charter services.
  • The Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) can change any aspect of the scheme at any time, including but not limited to discount amount, community scope, seat availability and eligibility requirements.
  • The scheme may be extended, cancelled or a different scheme introduced after 30 June 2022. TMR also has the right to end the scheme early or to make changes to any aspect of the scheme.
  • Non-adherence to scheme conditions may result in:
    • The requirement to repay the subsidised portion of the airfare and
    • Not being able to receive any further discounted flights.

Steps for booking your flight

Step 1—Apply for your Letter of Eligibility

Visit your local council and demonstrate (your local council will set requirements) that you currently live and have lived in a Local Fare Scheme region for at least the last 3 years. If approved, your council will issue you a Letter of Eligibility. Contact your local council for more information.

If you have lost your Letter of Eligibility contact your local council for a replacement.

Step 2—Buy your ticket

Visit your local ticketing agent to buy your ticket.

Bookings can be made on behalf of family members if each family member has a Letter of Eligibility.

To access discounted flights through the Local Fare Scheme you must:

  • present photo ID
  • provide your Letter of Eligibility
  • book a return flight from an eligible airport through the local ticketing agent
  • complete travel by 30 September 2022
  • advise the ticketing agent the reason for travel (this information is used by Transport and Main Roads to record data regarding the scheme use).

Step 3—Travel

  • Present photo ID

Depending on the type of fare you have booked you will need to contact your ticketing agent if you miss your flight or need to change it.

If you miss more than 2 flights within a 12-month period you may not be able to receive any further discounted flights.

For more information about the Local Fare Scheme email localfarescheme@translink.com.au.

Eligible airports and local ticketing agents

See below for eligible airports and local ticketing agent contact details within each region.

Cape York

Aurukun airport

Council/Community Aurukun Shire Council
(07) 4060 6800
Airline Skytrans
Local ticketing agent Aurukun Shire Council
(07) 4047 6704

Bamaga airport

Council/Community Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council Bamaga
(07) 4090 4100
Airline REX
Skytrans
Local ticketing agent Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council (Rex & Skytrans)
(07) 4090 4100 & 
Bamaga Dreamtime (07) 4069 3222 (Rex)
Council/Community Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council Seisia
(07) 4090 6700
Airline REX
Skytrans
Local ticketing agent Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council (Rex & Skytrans)
(07) 4090 4100 & 
Bamaga Dreamtime (07) 4069 3222 (Rex)
Council/Community Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council New Mapoon
(07) 4090 6600 
Airline REX
Skytrans
Local ticketing agent Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council (Rex & Skytrans)
(07) 4090 4100 & 
Bamaga Dreamtime (07) 4069 3222 (Rex)
Council/Community Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council Umagico
(07) 4090 6900
Airline REX
Skytrans
Local ticketing agent Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council (Rex & Skytrans)
(07) 4090 4100 & 
Bamaga Dreamtime (07) 4069 3222 (Rex)
Council/Community Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council Injinoo
(07) 4090 6800
Airline REX
Local ticketing agent Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council (Rex & Skytrans)
(07) 4090 4100 & 
Bamaga Dreamtime (07) 4069 3222 (Rex)

Coen airport

Council/Community Cook Shire Council
(07) 4069 5444
Airline Hinterland Aviation
Local ticketing agent Balkanu Cape York Development Corp (Coen Guesthouse)
(07) 4019 6200

Kowanyama airport

Council/Community Kowanyama Aboriginal Shire Council
(07) 4083 7100
Airline Skytrans
Local ticketing agent Kowanyama Aboriginal Shire Council
(07) 4083 7100

Lockhart River airport

Council/Community Lockhart River Aboriginal Shire Council
(07) 4060 7144
Airline Skytrans
Local ticketing agent Lockhart River Aerodrome
(07) 4060 7121
Council/Community Portland Roads 
(07) 4082 5200 (Cook Shire Council)
Airline Skytrans
Local ticketing agent Portland Roads Café
(07) 4060 7161

Pormpuraaw airport

Council/Community Pormpuraaw Aboriginal Shire Council
(07) 4060 4600
Airline Skytrans
Local ticketing agent Pormpuraaw Aboriginal Shire Council
(07) 4053 3129

Weipa airport

Council/Community Mapoon Aboriginal Shire Council
(07) 4082 5211
Airline Qantas
Local ticketing agent Qantas – Weipa Business and Leisure Travel
(07) 4082 4800
Council/Community Napranum Aboriginal Shire Council
(07) 4090 5600
Airline Qantas
Local ticketing agent Qantas – Weipa Business and Leisure Travel
(07) 4082 4800
Council/Community Weipa Town Authority
(07) 4030 9400
Airline Qantas
Local ticketing agent Qantas – Weipa Business and Leisure Travel
(07) 4082 4800

Gulf of Carpentaria

Doomadgee airport

Council/Community Doomadgee Aboriginal Shire Council
(07) 4745 8351
Airline REX
Local ticketing agent Doomadgee Aboriginal Shire Council
(07) 3164 6266

Mornington Island airport

Council/Community Mornington Shire Council
(07) 4745 7800
Airline REX
Local ticketing agent Quartzcave Pty Ltd
Owen Walker, Jessy and Greg Taylor
0427 672 331

Torres Strait

Horn Island airport

Council/Community Thursday Island
Torres Shire Council
(07) 4069 1336
Airline Qantas
Skytrans
Local ticketing agent Qantas – Torres Shire Council
(07) 4069 1336
Skytrans – Islanders Board of Industry and Service
(07) 4214 1700
Council/Community Horn Island
Torres Shire Council
(07) 4069 1336
Airline Qantas 
Skytrans
Local ticketing agent Qantas – Torres Shire Council
(07) 4069 1336
Skytrans – Islanders Board of Industry and Service
(07) 4212 1400

Badu Island airport

Council/Community Torres Strait Island Regional Council
(07) 4034 5700
Airline Skytrans
Local ticketing agent Island and Cape
(07) 4069 4847

Coconut (Poruma) Island airport

Council/Community Torres Strait Island Regional Council
(07) 4034 5700
Airline Skytrans
Local ticketing agent Islanders Board of Industry and Service
(07) 4212 7030

Darnley (Erub) Island airport

Council/Community Torres Strait Island Regional Council
(07) 4034 5700
Airline Skytrans
Local ticketing agent Islanders Board of Industry and Service
(07) 4214 7060

Kubin Village airport

Council/Community Torres Strait Island Regional Council
(07) 4034 5700
Airline Skytrans
Local ticketing agent Islanders Board of Industry and Service
(07) 4214 7110

Mabuiag Island airport

Council/Community Torres Strait Island Regional Council
(07) 4034 5700
Airline Skytrans
Local ticketing agent Islanders Board of Industry and Service
(07) 4212 7100

Murray (Mer) Island airport

Council/Community Torres Strait Island Regional Council
(07) 4034 5700
Airline Skytrans
Local ticketing agent Islanders Board of Industry and Service
(07) 4069 4045

Saibai Island airport

Council/Community Torres Strait Island Regional Council
(07) 4034 5700
Airline Skytrans
Local ticketing agent Islanders Board of Industry and Service
(07) 4212 7040

Sue (Warraber) Island airport

Council/Community Torres Strait Island Regional Council
(07) 4034 5700
Airline Skytrans
Local ticketing agent Islanders Board of Industry and Service
(07) 4069 4168

Talbot (Boigu) Island airport

Council/Community Torres Strait Island Regional Council
(07) 4034 5700
Airline Skytrans
Local ticketing agent Islanders Board of Industry and Service
(07) 4214 7000

Yam (Iama) Island airport

Council/Community Torres Strait Island Regional Council
(07) 4034 5700
Airline Skytrans
Local ticketing agent Islanders Board of Industry and Service
(07) 4214 7020

Yorke (Masig) Island airport

Council/Community Torres Strait Island Regional Council
(07) 4034 5700
Airline Skytrans
Local ticketing agent Islanders Board of Industry and Service
07 4214 7070

Frequently asked questions

What is it?

The Local Fare Scheme is an airfare discount of up to $400* for return air travel administered through participating airlines and local Councils from selected airports in Cape York, Gulf of Carpentaria and the Torres Strait.

The Scheme originally commenced on 1 July 2015 and has been extended until 30 June 2022.

The Scheme aims to improve the standard of living in remote parts of Far North Queensland by reducing the cost of air travel to and from selected airports for eligible residents. Through financial assistance, the Scheme allows eligible residents to move around more frequently, enabling social and recreational benefits that in turn will help boost the local economy.

Eligible residents are those who can demonstrate they currently live in and have lived in a Local Fare Scheme Region for at least the last 3 years. To redeem the airfare discount, residents must apply for and be issued with a Letter of Eligibility through their local Council. Airfares booked under the Scheme must be booked through a local ticketing agent.

Minimum fare payable is $99 each way plus booking fees. A maximum of $200 off per flight. Return bookings only. Other terms and conditions apply.

* The Department of Transport and Main Roads has the ability to amend the discount, eligibility criteria and seat availability at any time.

Why are some airports excluded?

Some airports have been excluded as discounts available on existing services are thought to be sufficient for community needs. This includes communities serviced by regulated air and long-distance coach services.

When can I start booking travel?

Travel can be booked by, or on behalf of, Eligible Residents at any time, as long as the person for whom travel is being booked has a valid Letter of Eligibility.

How do I prove eligibility?

Local councils or authorities issuing Letters of Eligibility will require you to complete an application form and provide documentation proving that you currently live and have lived locally—that is, in a Local Fare Scheme region for that council or authority, for a minimum of 3 years. Your local council or authority can provide more information about ways to demonstrate this local residency requirement.

For residents that hold a current Letter of Eligibility from a previous residential community, you will also be required to request eligibility transfer. To enable you to do so, you should complete a 'letter of eligibility transfer checklist'. Your local council or authority can provide more information about ways to complete this requirement.

Residents that currently reside, and have resided in more than one Cape York, Gulf of Carpentaria, or Torres Strait Local Fare Scheme eligible community, over 3 continuous years, with no previous Letter of Eligibility, will also be required to request eligibility exception. To enable you to do so, you will be required to complete a 'letter of eligibility exception' checklist. Your local council or authority can provide more information about ways to complete this requirement.

Why do I have to have lived in a Local Fare Scheme region for a minimum of 3 years?

This criteria is based on feedback received from community members during consultation to ensure people who are genuine local residents benefit from the Scheme.

Can I book tickets for family members using the Local Fare Scheme?

Yes, you can book tickets for family members who are Eligible Residents. You just need a copy of their Letter of Eligibility and photo identification for that person. Family members you book travel for will be required to provide identification when travelling and this must reconcile with the booking that was made and be under the same name as the Letter of Eligibility.

What if I lose my Letter of Eligibility?

Contact your local Council office.

How do I book and pay for my airfare?

You must buy your ticket through a local ticketing agent. Payment can be made in any way accepted by the ticketing agent.

What is an Eligible Booking?

An Eligible Booking is one that satisfies all of the following requirements:

  • Return travel: It must be a return booking for travel commencing from a ‘Scheme Airport’, being one of the airports included in the list under 'Eligible airports and local ticketing agents'
  • First leg of travel: The first leg of the travel must originate from the Scheme Airport shown on the Letter of Eligibility issued to the Eligible Resident for whom the travel is booked – that is, the airport that is in the Local Area of the council or authority that issued the Letter of Eligibility.
  • Scheduled air services*: For Cape York and Torres Strait eligible residents the booking must be for a scheduled air service to another Scheme Airport or to Cairns airport.

For Gulf of Carpentaria eligible residents, the booking must be for a scheduled air service to another Scheme Airport or to Cairns or Mt Isa airport. Bookings for charter services are not eligible for the discount.

  • Time limits: Bookings can be made at any time, for travel that will be completed by 30 June 2022.
  • Personal travel: The booking must be for personal air travel only, not for any form of business use.

*More information about this is set out under frequently asked questions earlier in this document.

I live in one of the outer Torres Strait Islands. If I want to travel to Cairns I need to connect to a second plane at Horn Island. Does that mean I get 2 discounts each way, totalling $800?

No. A person based on one of the outer islands travelling to Cairns is entitled to a discount of up to $400 for the full return trip. The discount does not reset when flying through a connecting airport.

How often can I use the scheme?

You can use the scheme for personal travel in accordance with the conditions of the scheme, a maximum of 12 times during each financial year.

TMR may review this policy throughout the life of the scheme—please check this page for any changes.

What happens if I miss my flight or need to change my flight?

This will depend on the type of fare you booked—contact your ticketing agent.

Will I be penalised if I miss a flight?

If you miss more than 2 flights during a 12-month period, you may not be able to receive any further discounts from this scheme. The Queensland Government must spend public money effectively and responsibly, so we need to make sure subsidies are not paid for flights which are not used.

How can I provide feedback?

You can provide feedback at any time by emailing localfarescheme@translink.com.au.

Last updated
15 November 2021