Federal Trade and Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham has blasted Qantas’ move to start a bidding war between state governments over the location of its headquarters as a blatant appeal for corporate welfare.
Qantas on Tuesday said it would look for state government financial support to help it decide whether to move its headquarters from Sydney’s Mascot and relocate Jetstar’s office from Melbourne and its heavy aircraft maintenance base from Brisbane Airport.
Senator Birmingham told ABC Radio Adelaide on Wednesday that Qantas trying to auction off its head office jobs to the highest bidder was a “blatant attempt to extract taxpayer dollars from the states and territories”.
“I’d have to urge caution from the states,” he said. “This bidding war won’t create one extra job in Australia; it just shuffles jobs around Australia and certainly our focus federally is how we save jobs across the country and try to start to grow those numbers again.”
The Morrison government frontbencher said he understood why state governments wanted to attract jobs into their jurisdictions, but warned it could spark a wave of businesses looking for government handouts.
“This has the potential to represent the worst of federalism and to spark a wave of corporate welfare-seeking by big business if we sort of have big companies around the country just auctioning off their head offices to states and territories,” Mr Birmingham said. “In the end, it’s taxpayers picking