The ACTU has made a new proposal to help former Ansett workers receive their outstanding entitlements, nearly two years after the airline collapsed.

ACTU Secretary Greg Combet today said that the new plan would use up to $260 million collected from the Ansett air ticket levy and now being held by the Howard Government.

Mr Combet said that under current arrangements, the government will make a profit estimated at between $100 million and $260 million from the Ansett ticket levy, which was scrapped last month.

The ACTU wrote to Transport Minister John Anderson yesterday proposing that any surplus from the $10 ticket levy instead be used to meet shortfalls in the Ansett superannuation funds. Mr Combet said that the proposal would have the following benefits:

  • court action involving the superannuation funds could be ended, allowing the
    Ansett administration to resume instalment payments to former employees;
  • former employees would have a far greater chance of receiving their full
    superannuation and redundancy entitlements;
  • the travelling public would know that the ticket levy has been used for its
    stated purpose to pay entitlements to sacked Ansett workers; and
  • the Ansett administrators could repay to the government a $335 million loan
    in full, but without the government making a profit from the airline’s
  • “The government’s refusal to use any surplus from the ticket levy for former Ansett employees will leave a shortfall in funds available to pay outstanding entitlements of more than $350 million still owed to thousands of sacked workers,” Mr Combet said.

    “The Government is double dipping by keeping the $260 million from the Ansett ticket levy while also requiring the Ansett administration to repay the $335 million loan in full.

    “Mr Anderson himself has said that the loan is likely to be repaid in full by the Ansett administration. I understand that an initial payment of $190 million will soon be made to the government from the proceeds of asset sales. That initial payment alone will put the government about $100 million in front from the whole Ansett crisis.

    “I’ve asked Mr Anderson to consider this alternative proposal to help former Ansett workers and to prevent the government from becoming the biggest financial winner from the Ansett collapse,” Mr Combet said.