Possible Howard Government plans to push ahead of employees in the Ansett creditors queue could leave taxpayers and Ansett workers millions of dollars out of pocket.

ACTU Secretary Greg Combet today said the Federal Government could damage the chances of developing a commercially viable business plan for Ansett if it went ahead with the proposal.

Unions believe that despite levying a $10 ticket tax to fund its Ansett employee entitlements scheme, the Federal Government may also be planning to push ahead of other creditors and seek reimbursement of funds spent on the entitlements scheme from the beleaguered airline’s assets.

Mr Combet accused the Government of reversing its commitment to fund its employee entitlements scheme from the $10 ticket tax, saying any move to grab Ansett assets would not only cost Ansett staff and the travelling public, but could also put the long-term viability of the airline at risk.

“Instead of lining up for Ansett’s assets, the Government should assist the Administrators to free the airline of its liabilities so that a commercially viable business can be built,” said Mr Combet.

“If the Government ends up double-dipping by collecting the tax as well as grabbing Ansett’s assets, then the Federal Government could actually make money out of the Ansett collapse. Ansett staff, the travelling public and taxpayers will all be out of pocket.

“What is required is simple – the Government must fund the employee entitlements scheme from the $10 tax. That was the commitment that was made. That is the legislation that has gone through Parliament. The Government should keep its hands off Ansett assets,” said Mr Combet.

I call on the Government to clear up any confusion by making its position clear”, said Mr Combet.