The Hon Anthony Albanese MP
The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,
Regional Development and Local Government
Leader of the House
Member for Grayndler
December 3 2008
The Australian Government believes in an Australian-based and majority Australian-owned Qantas.
At no stage has the Government indicated support for any proposal – in principle or otherwise.
Qantas has publicly stated that it is ‘exploring a potential merger with British Airways PLC via a dual-listed company structure’. There has been no proposal put to the Government for approval of any Qantas/British Airways Merger.
Any merger would need to comply fully with Qantas’s obligations under the Qantas Sale Act, the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act, the Trade Practices Act and Australia’s international Air Services Agreements.
The Qantas Sale Act 1992 requires that:
- Qantas’s main operational base and headquarters must remain in Australia;
- Total foreign ownership not exceed 49 per cent, no single foreign interest exceed 25 per cent, and total foreign airline ownership not exceed 35 percent;
- The name of Qantas must be preserved for the company’s scheduled international passenger services;
- The company must be incorporated in Australia;
- At least two-thirds of the board of Qantas must be Australian citizens; and
- The chairman of the board must be an Australian citizen.
These provisions ensure that Qantas remains Australian.
Qantas must remain Australian based and majority Australian owned – that will not change. Indeed, all Australian international airlines must be no more than 49 per cent foreign owned.
This applies to Jetstar, V Australia, Pacific Blue, Skyairworld, Air-north, OzJet and three Australian international freight operators – Heavy Lift Cargo, Tasman Cargo and Express Freighters.
The Government’s Aviation Green Paper released yesterday indicated the Government would consider reviewing the additional ownership restrictions that only apply to Qantas, not other Australian international airlines.
The Government has made clear that no consideration is being given to changing any other section of the Qantas Sale Act.
We have been reminded just this week why a national airline is important – not just to the economy, but also for Australia’s national security.
The Government is committed to growing a strong Australian-based aviation industry and Qantas is a key part of Australia’s aviation future.