PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA
TUESDAY, 3 AUGUST 2021
SUBJECTS: Qantas workers stood down; Vaccine and quarantine.
CATHERINE KING, SHADOW MINISTER FOR INFRASTRUCTURE, TRANSPORT AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT: I just wanted to make some comments about the decision today by Qantas to stand down two and a half thousand of its workforce for at least the next 12 months and about the aviation sector overall. Scott Morrison had two jobs and he failed at both of them. That was to get the vaccine rollout on track and to ensure that quarantine was effective in this country. As a result of those failures, the aviation sector in Australia is on its knees. The reason that we’ve gone from, in May, almost 100% of domestic capacity in this country in our aviation sector, to now down to below 40%, is because of lockdowns. Those lockdowns are occurring because the government has absolutely failed in its job to get the vaccine rollout correct and to actually deal with the issue of quarantine in this country. As a result of that, we’re seeing 2,500 workers today being told that they’re stood down at least for the next two months. We know that since this pandemic started, more than 10,000 workers have lost their job in the aviation sector alone. The government has had 18 months to get the package right for the future of aviation in this country and for recovery of aviation. We knew that lockdowns were going to continue to occur if the vaccine rollout failed and that’s exactly what’s happened and all we see from this government is not an approach to try and save jobs in the aviation sector, but a piecemeal attempt to get itself out of political trouble again and again. The announcements the government made yesterday around aviation workers have sown more confusion. It appears that only pilots and cabin crew are covered by the government’s package. It’s up to Scott Morrison and Barnaby Joyce to explain why it thinks airline crew and pilots are worthy of JobKeeper, and other airline workers are not. It’s up to the government to explain why it believes a wage subsidy for some airline workers, that connection with your employer, is okay, and others are not. This government has failed our aviation sector and this package we saw yesterday, it’s just yet again, a piecemeal approach to a sector that is on its knees because the Morison government has failed to get the vaccine rollout right and to ensure quarantine is okay.
CATHERINE KING – TRANSCRIPT – DOORSTOP INTERVIEW – PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA – TUESDAY, 3 AUGUST 2021