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Taxpayers dig deep to keep Qantas jobs after bidding war


The flying kangaroo will still be based in Sydney, but Qantas took some persuading to keep maintenance works in Brisbane.

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In the wake of Virgin Australia being bailed out, partly by the Queensland Government, Qantas launched a property review to invite bids from the states for its business and jobs. It was widely regarded as a test of government support for the national carrier in the midst of travel bans and a global pandemic.

While there was speculation the Qantas headquarters might move from Mascot in Sydney, the company today announced the HQ would stay, as would the Jetstar headquarters in Melbourne. Government incentives have seemingly been used to stop Qantas moving other jobs, including the prospect of Brisbane’s heavy maintenance work heading south in a package deal.

Treasurer Cameron Dick today declined to detail the incentives offered to Qantas – he revealed the negotiations had yet to be finalised, despite the company’s announcement – but said the government’s objective of keeping the heavy maintenance jobs “has been achieved”.

Dick said he expected about 100 jobs to be created, as Qantas looked to upgrade its Brisbane facilities and also expand in Cairns and Townsville, partly through collaboration with Alliance Airlines over Embraer E190 jets.

“The Q in Qantas stands for Queensland, without Queensland there would have been no Qantas,” Dick said.

Jetstar will do more heavy maintenance on its Airbus A320 fleet in Brisbane, rather than Singapore, and Qantas is building a Flight Training Centre at Brisbane Airport.

In a statement, Qantas said its property review had led to the company benefitting from payroll tax relief, tourism marketing funding, property rebates, training support and direct incentives, “all of which are designed to reflect and help increase future economic activity”.

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