ACTU Secretary Greg Combet welcomed today’s announcement of the agreement by Ansett’s Administrators to the conditional sale of the airline’s business to the Fox-Lew consortium.

“This agreement provides the basis for at least 4,000 direct jobs to be saved in Ansett Mark II, with a further 3,000 jobs in regional air services and other Ansett businesses,” Mr Combet said.

“The agreement also lays the basis for employees who cannot continue in employment with Ansett to receive 100% of their entitlements, and for a dividend to be paid to unsecured creditors.

“However, for all of these objectives to be achieved it is critical that the Commonwealth Government provide its $195 million loan to Ansett’s Administrators to help pay for workers’ entitlements. This loan must not be recovered from the assets of Ansett, but should be repaid from the $10 ticket tax being collected for that purpose.

“The ball is now in Mr Howard’s court. Labor has announced that it would support Ansett with the $195 million loan. But Mr Howard says he wants to double dip into Ansett’s assets while also collecting the ticket tax,” Mr Combet said.

“Mr Howard is still insisting on jeopardising the future of Ansett and thousands of people’s jobs.

“Why is Mr Howard standing in the way of a solution for Ansett?”