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Extend JobKeeper past September for aviation, says TWU

written by Adam Thorn | June 9, 2020

Dnata press shot
Dnata fears its exclusion from JobKeeper will harm its chance of surviving the coronavirus crisis (Dnata)

The TWU has urged the government to extend its JobKeeper scheme for the aviation industry, ahead of its general expiry on 27 September.

The Transport and Workers Union has also said members will travel to Canberra tomorrow ahead of a separate vote urging the scheme to be widened to excluded businesses, such as those owned by a foreign government or council.

TWU national secretary Michael Kaine said, “Aviation workers are crying out for certainty and are appealing to the federal government to urgently put in place ‘aviation keeper’ beyond September.

“Through no fault of their own these workers have seen their jobs ground to a halt and the airports just about shut up. They deserve to know that the government intends to keep their vital industry afloat so they can continue paying their bills and supporting their families.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has previously promised the scheme will be reviewed at the end of June, and also hinted it could be extended to more vulnerable industries.


“The review will provide an opportunity to see how the program is going and the experience on the ground and to make any amendments that are necessary,” he said. “When you move a program as quickly as this, then you anticipate that there will be some anomalies and issues that need to be addressed along the way.”

Last week, Australian Aviation reported how the Australian Federation of Air Pilots also lobbied the government to extend its JobKeeper scheme for the aviation industry when it expires on 27 September.

President Louise Pole said, “The likelihood that international operations will resume in any meaningful way before September is remote and our highly-skilled airline pilot members are currently in a severe financial situation.”

The JobKeeper package was introduced to provide coronavirus-effected business with $1,500 per employee, per fortnight.

The companies are then legally obliged to pass that payment onto workers in a bid to keep the economy active during the pandemic.

More generally, the scheme has proved problematic for much of the aviation industry.

Many airport workers are locked out of the financial package because their firms are council-owned; while staff at dnata were similarly told they were no longer eligible because their company is owned by a foreign government.

Later, it emerged a miscalculation meant the package came around $60 billion under budget.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told the Today program he accepted blame for the apparent reporting error, which meant the aid package only cost $70 billion and covered 3.5 million Australians, rather than $130 billion and 6.5 million as forecast.

In May, the chairman of Mildura Airport became Australia’s first airport boss to call for the scheme to be extended after it emerged the initiative was under budget.

Peter O’Donnell told Australian Aviation, “We’ll get through this, but my concern is that the regional networks will be decimated because airports will be fundamentally without funds or bankrupted.”

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Comments (5)

  • Paul


    The unions are only thinking of the major airports. Regional once again loose out.

  • Andy P


    In the race of life always back self interest, because at least you know it’s trying.

  • The supporting industries should be catered for as well. Primarily the ground passenger industry who has little to no other income. Shuttle buses, mini buses and Hire cars etc. Uber is both a foreign owned entity and not solely reliant in the airport operating, with a large percentage of their work coming from non airport point to point work, similar to the taxi industry, but those who have based their business model around providing airport and cruise transfers as a primary source of income need to be supported as well. We cannot be forgotten again.

  • Linda Weaving


    If airlines like JetStar & Qantas can afford to offer cheap as chips flights & airports are profiting, then THEY should be paying these workers! Not taxpayers!

  • Linda Weaving


    If aviation won’t take care of their own, I think the workers who have been left out in the cold would be better off being given assistance to change industries so they can have better job security. Namely, healthcare. Healthcare employs more people than any other sector, is the fastest growing – even more so since Covid-19 – permanent positions are the norm, the diversity of job opportunities enormous, and catering for all educational levels. Including cleaners & caterers.
    Laying off low paid workers should be the LAST resort! Not the first!

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