Friday April 18, 2014

Qantas sale act open for debate – Hockey

Will Qantas still call Australia home?

Will Qantas still call Australia home?

Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey says the restrictions of the Qantas Sale Act should be debated, saying they are a “set of handcuffs” that competitor Virgin Australia doesn’t have to wear.

“We all, as Australians, need to carefully consider whether we retain restrictions on shareholdings on Australian companies, and if we do in the national interest, then we need to be prepared to pay a price for that,” Hockey told media on Thursday. “And as far as I’m concerned, we should not be in the business of putting taxpayer’s money or putting taxpayer guarantees on the table if it’s not the view of the taxpayers that that should happen.”

Earlier Hockey had told radio station 3AW that there are costs from keeping the Qantas Sale Act, which limits total foreign ownership to 49 per cent and any single airline investor to 25 per cent.

“If voters say no … we think it should remain Australian owned and controlled and have a national carrier, then we must accept we have to pay a price for that,’’  he said.

“I don’t have a magic bullet here, but what I do know, that coming down the pipeline… Australia needs to decide whether it’s going to pay a taxpayer price for owning a national carrier.’’

And on Wednesday at a business lunch the treasurer went so far as to suggest the federal government re-investing funds into Qantas: “The days of sitting back and letting the regulation do the heavy lifting are over. We may have to put our hand in our pockets or [give] private guarantees,” he said, according to an Australian Financial Review report.

The federal opposition says it would block any moves to lift foreign ownership limits on Qantas.

“Ownership matters for air services agreements,” opposition Transport spokesman Anthony Albanese told the ABC.

But as the Treasurer said today: “The question for Australia is do we want to keep a national carrier and if we do, are we prepared to pay the price that is going to come for that.”

Comments

6 Responses to “Qantas sale act open for debate – Hockey”
  1. Craig says:

    Everyone seems to forget qantas spent hundreds of millions of dollars setting up jetstar here and overseas to protect itself against foreign airlines now it wants to potect its dominance .

  2. NJP says:

    When the US government supported their car industry during the GFC, it was on condition that no money went to support foreign cars – hence LandRover, SAAB, Volvo, Jag. all got sold-off – why should my tax$$ got to support QF if they are allowed to keep all the JQ overseas ventures.

  3. John D Tannock says:

    Qantas is a valuable and necessary asset to Australia and should not fall into foreign hands.
    The obvious step is for the Australian Government to purchase a 51 % shareholding in Qantas and the Government to appoint 51 % of Directors to the Board.

    I hope that good sense and reason prevail.

    Regards
    John D Tannock

  4. David McNaught says:

    Qantas is a public company and as such is entitled to make a profit or go broke.
    Why the Australian taxpayer has to help out with funds when Qantas management has made some bad business decisions is beyond me.
    Maybe Qantas’s big brother ( Emerates) can invest the funds requested and finish off what it is planning to do in the long run and put Qantas out of its misery.
    Maybe it is a case of the “geekes” winning over the bully and as such the bully goes running to the teacher because things are not going its way.

  5. beryl says:

    It should be kept in Australian hands .

  6. Ric Lasslett says:

    Interesting timing of this announcement, just as government were in the poo over a backflip on education. I wonder if it was a diversionary tactic. WE MUST keep our international airline in Australian hands otherwise we lose control of a major national asset. If it costs a few bucks so what? If it goes then what’s next, sell off the Airforce and contract out defense?