The question Treasurer won’t answer on Qantas coup


Queenslanders will never know how much taxpayers' money was spent to secure the continuation of Qantas' heavy-maintenance facility in the state.

Treasurer Cameron Dick yesterday refused to reveal any information on the cost of a bidding war instigated by the national carrier to convince states to stump up lucrative incentives to lure the national carrier.

After an eight-month review into its property portfolio, Qantas revealed it would keep 750 engineering jobs at Brisbane Airport and create up to 100 more across the state.

Qantas will also keep its headquarters in Sydney and Jetstar base in Melbourne despite a "compelling offer" from Queensland.

However, the airline has accepted undisclosed incentives in return for its heavy-maintenance facility to remain at Brisbane Airport and the relocation of an A320 maintenance facility from Singapore to Queensland.


Treasurer Cameron Dick yesterday refused to reveal how much taxpayer cash was used to maintain and grow Qantas' presence in Queensland.

"I play the maroon cards close to the chest, I'm not one to tip off our competitor states, particularly the big states of New South Wales and Victoria," he said.

"This was a highly-competitive process - Qantas put all of its property assets on the table.

"We were in a fight with other states who wanted to poach jobs from Queensland."

The airline confirmed it would receive "a range of benefits" for commitments made to Queensland, NSW and Victoria - including payroll tax relief, tourism marketing funding, property rebates, training support and direct incentives.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said states "put a lot of effort" into their offers and revealed the airline was close to uprooting its mammoth corporate offices.


State Treasurer Cameron Dick is remaining tight-lipped.
State Treasurer Cameron Dick is remaining tight-lipped.


"Moving one or both of our headquarters was always a live option and there were times in the process where that seemed to be the most likely outcome," he said.

Transport Workers' Union National Secretary Michael Kaine said taxpayers had a right to know what Queensland's deal with Qantas involved.

"We are calling for full transparency at federal and state level on the public subsidies Qantas is receiving and for conditions to be attached to these subsidies," he said.

"NSW, Queensland and Victoria should reveal details of the sweetheart deals with Qantas and immediately attach conditions which will protect taxpayers' interests."

Opposition Leader David Crisafulli did not reveal whether Queenslanders should know how much taxpayer cash was spent to keep Qantas, despite the LNP in September calling for a similar deal between the government and Virgin Australia to be made public.

"The Q stands for Queensland and we will back any move that put the weights on Qantas to make sure they maintain that focus on our great state," Mr Crisafulli said.

Originally published as The question Treasurer won't answer on Qantas coup