Airport workers wage subsidy hopes dashed as One Nation sides against JobKeeper push

Australians working at foreign state-owned companies will continue to miss out on wage subsidies after the Senate rejected a push to include them.

Labor tried to change JobKeeper’s eligibility to include workers at foreign- owned companies, like airline services provider dnata which employs 5500 people locally.

But One Nation sided against the disallowance, with a 30-all vote resulting in the motion’s defeat.

Pauline Hanson said aviation would still be largely shut down when the program designed to keep workers linked to bosses expires.

“The vast majority of the nearly 6000 dnata workers will not have a job to return to once JobKeeper payments end on September 27,” she told parliament.

“This is going to be a complete blow to many dnata employees but I’m being completely upfront and honest.”

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Dnata provides 90 per cent of airlines catering in Australia and is owned by the UAE government-controlled Emirates Group.

Labor senator Tony Sheldon said it was lunacy that workers who handed people meals on flights were included while the people who made the meal missed out.

“Australian workers have been short-changed by this heartless government that have broken a compact with the people,” he said.

He accused the government of doublecrossing employees by changing the eligibility to exclude foreign state-owned companies on May 1.

“They were playing by the rules only to have the government move the goalposts on them midgame,” Senator Sheldon said.

The Greens, Centre Alliance and independent Jacqui Lambie backed the disallowance but it wasn’t enough.

Labor and the Greens also pushed for university workers to be included in JobKeeper, but that was shot down for the second time in a week. Government minister Richard Colbeck said the scheme offered unprecedented support to millions of workers.

“Eligibility has focused on maximising the reach of JobKeeper while ensuring that the program is able to be implemented as quickly and efficiently as possible, while remaining sustainable,” he said.



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