Lazy Baillieu Costs Qantas Jobs

The do-nothing Baillieu Government has betrayed workers at Qantas with hundreds of jobs axed at the company’s Tullamarine and Avalon heavy maintenance sites, Leader of the Opposition Daniel Andrews said today.

Qantas has today confirmed 422 jobs will be axed at the Tullamarine site and a further 113 jobs will be lost at Avalon.

“Today’s announcement by Qantas that more than 500 Victorian maintenance workers will lose their jobs is devastating news for those workers and their families,” Mr Andrews said.

“It is also a terrible blow to Victoria’s aviation industry and yet more proof that Victoria is going backwards and desperately needs a jobs plan.

“The Baillieu Government cannot blame the international economy or the high Australian dollar for this decision.

“If Ted Baillieu wanted to save these jobs, he needed to support investment in new hangar facilities here in Victoria.”

Qantas has made it clear that not only has it closed Tullamarine for heavy maintenance work but also over the next five to seven years the engineering maintenance workload will reduce by 60 per cent.

Mr Andrews said this was terrible news for the remaining Qantas maintenance workers in Victoria.

“Victoria’s aircraft maintenance workers are the most skilled, experienced and motivated in Australia,” he said.

“The critical mass of the aircraft maintenance industry in Australia is here in Victoria.

“These jobs have been lost to Queensland because the Baillieu Government was not willing to do today what the Queensland Government did in 2002; that is, invest in modern hangar facilities.

“Victorians are entitled to ask; what did the Baillieu Government do to give Victoria the best chance of securing these jobs and keeping maintenance work here for the long term?

“In the arm wrestle with Queensland for these jobs Victorians should feel betrayed by the do- nothing Baillieu Government.”

Shadow Minister for Industry Tim Holding said the Baillieu Government trumpeted its establishment of the State’s first Minister with responsibility for the Aviation Industry when it came to office in December 2010.

“This hollow, empty gesture has now been exposed as a cruel and ridiculous hoax,” Mr Holding said.

“Other than meeting with Qantas it’s impossible to identify anything tangible that this Minister has actually done to keep these jobs in Victoria.”

“Why then has this project been shelved by this Government?” Mr Holding said.

“Every Qantas worker who loses their job in Victoria will leave work today knowing that Ted Baillieu did not fight hard enough for their jobs.

“Victoria faces a jobs crisis, our State needs a jobs plan, and instead we have a Government that seeks to blame everything and everyone else for the challenges that confront Victoria.

“How many more Victorian’s have to lose their jobs?

“How many more companies will move their work interstate or offshore?

“How many more people have to tell our Premier that he is asleep at the wheel before the Baillieu Government will act?”