Labor urges the Morrison Government to fix a rule in its JobKeeper program that excludes thousands of Australian workers employed in the aviation sector.
One of Australia’s leading aviation services companies, dnata, has today told its 5,500 workforce that the company is currently ineligibile for the JobKeeper wage subsidy program because the company’s parent company is a foreign government.
Shadow Transport Minister Catherine King has written to Treasurer Josh Frydenberg requesting he use his discretion and grant these 5,500 Australian workers eligible for JobKeeper.
Importantly, every cent of the Job Keeper supplement will go to the Australian workers who need it – this money would not go to the foreign-owned company.
dnata’s Australian workers provide crucial ground handling, charter handling, cargo and logistics, and catering services to Australia’s aviation sector.
The travel and border restrictions necessary to limit the spread of Coronavirus have had a devastating impact on the aviation sector, resulting in many thousands of Australian workers being stood down.
As it stands, the JobKeeper program does not account for the complex structure of the global aviation industry, which is made up of highly skilled personnel with high levels of security screening.
It is critical for our economic recovery that dnata and other aviation companies are able to retain staff and quickly re-activate their operations as soon as the pandemic restrictions are lifted.
Providing these 5,500 workers with access to Job Keeper will be a lifeline for them and their families and keep the connection to the employer. This would leave the aviation sector in a stronger position to recover after the Covid crisis abates.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has extraordinary powers to extend JobKeeper with the stroke of a pen and he should use them.
Labor has been constructive, supportive and responsible throughout this virus outbreak. But being constructive does not mean being silent when there are clear gaps that need to be filled.
Labor’s priority is to protect jobs and support Australian workers, businesses, families and communities through this difficult time.
With Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers, Shadow Industrial Relations Minister Tony Burke and Shadow Employment Minister Brendan O’Connor.