Qantas talk of relocating HQ would hit local workers, mayors say

Flight path: Qantas' suggestion that it may move its cororate head ofice at Mascot would be a great loss for the community and the local economy during challenging times, Bayside mayor Joe Awada said.
Flight path: Qantas' suggestion that it may move its cororate head ofice at Mascot would be a great loss for the community and the local economy during challenging times, Bayside mayor Joe Awada said.

The news that Qantas may relocate its headquarters from Mascot in Sydney was described by Bayside Council mayor Joe Awada as a great loss to the community while Georges River mayor Kevin Greene said it would mean poorer job access for local workers.

"Bayside Council has always had a good working relationship with Sydney Airport and would be extremely disappointed if Qantas moved its operations," Bayside Mayor Joe Awada said.

"It would be a great loss for the community and the local economy during these challenging times."

Georges River mayor Kevin Greene said the possible relocation of Qantas would result in poorer job access and opportunities for the local community.

"The companies located at Sydney Airport provide many great employment opportunities for Sydneysiders who live south of the CBD," Councillor Greene said.

"The Greater Sydney Commission's Pulse of Sydney report highlighted that the South District has the lowest number of jobs - only 10 per cent of Greater Sydney's jobs - and the loss of Qantas HQ could result in poorer job access and opportunities for our community.

"We're striving to deliver a liveable city for our residents and to attract business to the area. If a relocation of Qantas HQ goes ahead, this will impact on our ability to do so," he said.

More than 75 per cent of Sydney Airport workers live near the airport in regions such as St George and Sutherland Shire, a 2015 report by Deloitte Access Economics revealed.

This year, Qantas has stood down 20,000 staff or two-thirds of its workforce, Virgin Airlines went into voluntary administration and Tigerair suspended operation.

Last month, Qantas announced it planned to axe another 2,400 jobs by outsourcing its ground handling roles.

Qantas has also confirmed it will shop around for the best financial incentives from states to relocate.

Qantas group chief financial officer Vanessa Hudson said: "Like most airlines, the ongoing impact of COVID means we'll be a much smaller company for a while.

"We're looking right across the organisation for efficiencies, including our $40 million annual spend on leased office space."

The Transport Workers Union is writing to all state and territory premiers urging them to set strict conditions on labour standards and outsourcing before offering any financial incentives for Qantas to move its headquarters.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said $800 million in public money from the Federal Government had already been misused by Qantas management and that the states should not make the same mistake.

"Qantas management should not get another cent of Australian taxpayers' money federally or at state level unless it agrees to strict conditions on safety, security and labour standards and agrees to halt its plans to axe and outsource 2,500 workers," Mr Kaine said.

"There is no benefit to the public if they are providing funding to an airline which intends to use the cloak of the pandemic to kill its workers' jobs so it can bring in workers on lower rates and conditions.

"We are writing to the states today urging them to provide incentives for Qantas only when the airline agrees to respect standards and shelve outsourcing plans," he said.

The TWU has begun legal proceedings against Qantas over the outsourcing with the Fair Work Commission hearing the case this week.

The public and politicians are being asked to sign a petition to the Qantas board: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/save-qantas-jobs/

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