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Thu 7 May 2020 03:56 PM

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Dnata to review Australian operations after change in JobKeeper legislation

Dubai-based company said change has threatened 4,500 jobs

Dnata to review Australian operations after change in JobKeeper legislation

Before the Covid-19 outbreak Dnata, which has operated in Australia since 2007, handled 300,000 tons of cargo, supported over seven million passengers and uplifted 64 million inflight meals with a team of 6,000.

Dubai-based Dnata has admitted it is looking to review its operations in Australia after the company was excluded from the country’s JobKeeper legislation.

A statement from the company said the decision to amend the legislation, preventing businesses owned by foreign governments from claiming, has put 4,500 jobs at risk.

“The application of the scheme was critical to the company’s Australian employees, as it meant that we could reinstate previously stood down workers, and keep the rest of the workforce employed.”

Before the Covid-19 outbreak Dnata, which has operated in Australia since 2007, handled 300,000 tons of cargo, supported over seven million passengers and uplifted 64 million inflight meals with a team of 6,000 professionally trained staff annually at nine of the country’s airports.

According to the Australian Services Union (ASU), 4,000 of dnata’s Australian-based staff were temporarily stood down on March 30. While dnata initially committed to rehiring almost all of these employees, the changes to JobKeeper legislation mean those jobs are now in jeopardy. 

The statement said Dnata has invested AUD300 million in people, infrastructure and technologies in Australia. “This investment has included the $150m acquisition of Qantas’ catering businesses in 2018 and the opening of a $6.5m catering facility in Canberra in 2019,” it said.

Dnata has urged the government to reconsider the decision and has said it is working closely with unions and other partners to provide support to affected employees.

It said: “Although unintended, the amendment to the Jobkeeper legislation will create an uneven playing field in the airport handling and catering sectors as none of our competitors have been excluded from the scheme. 

“We are not asking for anything more than our competitors will also be receiving through the JobKeeper scheme.”

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