Greens call on Labor to consider renationalising Qantas if it refuses to pay back Covid subsidies


The Greens are calling on Qantas to pay back the $2.7 billion in public money it received during the Covid pandemic, and requesting that the federal government consider taking Qantas back into public ownership to protect consumers and workers.

On ABC Radio this morning Jim Chalmers has ruled out asking Qantas to pay back their Covid subsidies worth $2.7 billion.

Qantas has just posted a record profit of $2.47 billion. The Federal government also recently denied an application from Qatar Airways to add 21 weekly flights, after opposition to the proposal from Qantas. This decision comes after revelations that Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s son was granted free membership to the Qantas Chairman’s Lounge.

The Federal Court also found in 2021 that Qantas illegally sacked 1,700 ground staff during the pandemic. Qantas is now challenging this ruling in the High Court.

Lines attributable to Elizabeth Watson-Brown MP, Greens spokesperson for Transport, Infrastructure and Sustainable Cities:

“During the pandemic, Qantas was given billions in government handouts and it turned around and sacked thousands of workers and outsourced to labour hire firms.

“Now that Qantas is posting record profits, it’s only right that they should pay back the $2.7 billion in public money. If they refuse, the Labor government should consider taking Qantas back into public ownership to keep prices down and protect workers.

“Qantas’s record profits are off the back of ballooning prices for flights during a cost of living crisis. Instead of that money going to CEO bonuses and share buybacks, it should be going to paying workers, improving their conditions, and making flights cheaper for everyday people.

“It’s galling to hear the Treasurer on radio this morning running defence for Qantas’s profits instead of holding them to account.

“People are right to be suspicious of Labor’s dealings with Qantas after revelations that the Prime Minister’s son has been granted free membership to the Qantas Chairman’s Lounge, while the recent decision to block Qatar Airways and secure further monopoly status for Qantas has been made with no scrutiny or clear justification."