Qantas should not refund taxpayers’ money, says Anthony Albanese’s government after airline posts $2.47bn profit
- Qantas made $2.47 billion in underlying profit for the last financial year
- Airline under pressure to refund government money during Covid
Treasurer Jim Chalmers has brushed aside suggestions Qantas should return money received from the government after the airline posted record profits.
Qantas on Thursday reported underlying profit of $2.47 billion for the past financial year, compared with a loss of nearly $2 billion the previous year.
But following the results, Flying Kangaroo is under pressure to repay the money it received from the federal government at the height of the Covid-19 crisis.
It received $2.7 billion from taxpayers during the pandemic, including $900 million from the JobKeeper program.
The airline’s chief executive, Alan Joyce, said at the time that it was just 11 weeks away from bankruptcy.
But Dr Chalmers said Qantas’ profits showed the tourism industry was enjoying a strong post-Covid recovery.
Treasurer Jim Chalmers has brushed off suggestions Qantas should repay money received from the government after the airline posted record profits (pictured are Qantas CEO Alan Joyce and her husband Shane Lloyd)
“When these funds were provided by the previous government, there was no understanding or agreement that they would be returned in one form or another,” he told ABC radio Friday.
“What (the earnings) reflect is that Australia’s tourism industry makes a significant contribution to our economy and that’s a good thing.”
“It is a major employer in our economy.”
Mr Joyce said government JobKeeper funds went to his employees.
“As we make money, we’ll pay corporate taxes and get there faster,” he told ABC’s 7:30 a.m. show.
“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, Joyce with Anthony Albanese and his partner Jodie Haydon)
“I would say no because it asks them to repay in a difficult time, so what money do we have to repay exactly?
Mr Joyce, who is called before the Australian Senate inquiry into the cost of living next week, said economy class fares have fallen 12 per cent since the peak in December last year.
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said Mr Joyce had led the airline well through a difficult time, including the pandemic.
“It was a tough time for these airlines. Being able to keep the business afloat through this time with the backing of a lot of taxpayers’ money, I think will be something that (Mr. Joyce) will matter.” , he told Nine’s. Program of the day.