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Thursday, 27 March 2014
Page: 3392

Ms CHESTERS (Bendigo) (13:39): Last week I had the privilege of meeting a few Qantas workers here in Parliament House. Some of these Qantas workers are not the highest paid, but they are some of the most skilled workers in our community. Roughly, there are 6,500 employed in Australian Services Union areas. Many of these staff work in front and back of house of Qantas—they work in customer service, airline freight, operations, catering, and even in Qantas lounges, which a number of us will be visiting this afternoon. The base salary of these workers is anywhere from $36,000 to $53,000 per year, so they are not the highest paid in our community. What these workers ask of the government is quite simple. They ask that the government withdraw the Qantas Sale Amendment Bill, prioritise local jobs when negotiating air service agreements and demand that foreign carriers operating in Australia invest in local jobs—and they call on the government and members of the House to support Qantas workers and their families.

These are things that a number of people in my community and the majority of Australians support. Given Qantas's track record, I agree with them that these are important issues. Over 10,000 jobs are at risk through the Qantas Sale Amendment Bill alone. This is on top of the thousands of jobs that Qantas has already cut over the past decade. Over 3,000 of these jobs have been offshored, something I know most Australians do not support.