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QANTAS: Takes $50 million from NSW Taxpayers

QANTAS: Takes $50 million from NSW Taxpayers

I have previously expressed my view on the immorality of large corporations being given taxpayers dollars to essentially do what they were going to do anyway. Qantas is a master/mistress at doing this with state governments.

OK, JobKeeper and the suspension of various fees during a pandemic, I grant, was/is essential to the successful functioning of the country and commerce. But accepting AU$50 million from the fair state of New South Wales (in which I reside) after opening up the location of Qantas HQ and other facilities to a bidding war between states is just corporate extortion.

In September of 2020 (most recent figures) NSW had a population of 8.166 million, which means that the fair people of NSW just gave a little over AU$6 each to Qantas. If it’s any comfort, we are paying that spread over 4 years.

a white airplane flying in the sky
Airbus A350-1000 – preferred Project Sunrise aircraft

How we got to know about this

We knew that Qantas had opened a bidding war with states for the location of their facilities last year in September, and we knew what the results were – essentially no significant change – a few months back in January, with an agreement with NSW announced in April, but we didn’t know who had paid how much although we did know that the ‘to whom’ was Qantas. We weren’t allowed to know, because, you know, ‘commercial in confidence’.

Nine Newspapers

Well the clever journalists (the ones that are left) over at the Sydney Morning Herald have sifted through a bunch of papers tabled by the Treasurer in the NSW parliament and found that:

‘The NSW government secretly offered $50 million in taxpayer funds to Qantas to head off a bidding war with rival states to keep the airline’s global headquarters in Sydney.’

Carrie Felner,

… and that was largely to keep about 3,500 Qantas employees in NSW – at a cost of over AU$14,000 per employee.

people standing in a large room
Qantas bag drop Terminal 3, Sydney

The deal

OK, OK, you are right, there were a few other strings attached, which made for a better deal. Qantas and the NSW Government committed to:

  • Remain headquartered in NSW until 2051
  • Set up a simulator centre in NSW for pilot and crew training
  • Commit to no net job losses plus:
  • Create 2000 more jobs for NSW
  • Run the ultra long-haul flights – or ‘project sunrise’ out of Sydney to London and New York exclusively for 5 years (sorry Melbs and Brisvegas)
  • invest AU$50 million over a decade in NSW
  • Payroll tax relief
  • Tourism funding to Qantas
  • Property tax rebates
  • Training support
  • Qantas loyalty staff to be relocated from Melbourne to Sydney
  • Get out of their current simulator facility so NSW can press on with Sydney Gateway Project, linking to WestConnex
  • Indigenous and gender diverse employment targets commitment

And if they don’t meet any of these provisions, then the NSW government will ‘claw back’ the appropriate proportion of that AU$50 million.

a room with chairs and tables
Qantas Domestic Business lounge Terminal 3, Sydney

2PAXfly Takeout

This is another timely reminder to wear your seatbelt when seated. Holding you close to your seat will protect you from the sort of injuries sustained on this flight, when unsecured passengers flew to the ceiling of the aircraft, and then came crashing down once the ‘drop’ ceased.

The hope will be that this is an anomaly – a ‘freak accident’ in casual parlance. If it is a systemic error either mechanical or electronic, then this is a larger concern for the airlines that fly Boeing Dreamliner 787 aircraft. Let’s hope it isn’t. If it is, it will pile on the woes to Boeing’s existing stack.

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