The audit would assess the effectiveness of the design and implementation of the range of measures designed to support the aviation sector.

Australia's aviation sector has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Australian Government's economic response to COVID-19 includes $1.9 billion over four years from 2019–20 for a package of measures to support the sector. These include:

  • the Australian Airline Financial Relief Measures, which will provide for rebates and fee waivers for aviation fuel excise, air services charges on commercial aircraft operators and domestic and   regional aviation security charges; and
  • the Domestic Aviation Network Support program, which is designed to maintain connectivity on major domestic air routes.

In addition, through the COVID-19 Response Package — Relief and Recovery Fund, $428 million will be provided to ensure that regional communities continue to receive essential air services and to maintain essential trade links.

The audit would examine the design and evidence base for the assistance packages, implementation and administration of the programs, as well as performance measurement and evaluation.

On 28 July 2020, the Hon Catherine King MP wrote to the Auditor-General requesting an audit into the design and administration of the Regional Airlines Funding Assistance Program.