Qantas should not pay back taxpayers’ money, says Anthony Albanese’s government after the airline recorded a $2.47 billion profit
- Qantas made $2.47billion underlying profit for last financial year
- Airline under pressure to pay back money from govt during Covid
Treasurer Jim Chalmers has hosed down suggestions Qantas should pay back money it received from the government after the airline posted record profits.
Qantas on Thursday reported an underlying profit of $2.47billion for the past financial year, compared with an almost $2billion loss the year before.
But the Flying Kangaroo is under pressure in the wake of the results to pay back money it received from the federal government at the height of the Covid-19 crisis.
It received $2.7billion from taxpayers during the pandemic, including $900million from the JobKeeper program.
The airline’s chief executive Alan Joyce said it was just 11 weeks away from bankruptcy at the time.
But Dr Chalmers said the profits from Qantas showed the tourism industry was making a strong recovery post-Covid.
Treasurer Jim Chalmers has hosed down suggestions Qantas should pay back money it received from the government after the airline posted record profits (pictured is Qantas CEO Alan Joyce and his husband Shane Lloyd)
‘When those funds were provided by the previous government, there wasn’t an understanding or an agreement that they would be repaid in some form,’ he told ABC Radio on Friday.
‘What (the profits) reflect is the fact the Australian tourism industry is making a big contribution to our economy and that’s a good thing.
‘It’s a big employer in our economy.’
Mr Joyce said the JobKeeper funds from the government went to its employees.
‘As we’re making money, we’ll pay corporation tax and getting there faster,’ he told the ABC’s 7.30 program.
‘Should our people who got the money for JobKeeper pay that back?
Qantas received $2.7 billion from taxpayers during the pandemic, including $900 million from the JobKeeper program (pictured is Joyce with Anthony Albanese and his partner Jodie Haydon)
‘I’d say no because that’s asking them to pay it back in a difficult period of time, so what money do we pay back exactly?’
Mr Joyce, who has been summoned to appear before the Australian Senate’s cost-of-living inquiry next week, said economy fares had dropped 12 per cent since peaking last December.
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said Mr Joyce had led the airline well during a difficult period, which included the pandemic.
‘It was a tough period for those airlines, to be able to keep the company afloat during that period with the support of a lot of taxpayers money, I think that will be one thing that (Mr Joyce) chalks up,’ he told Nine’s Today program.