Ansett’s Administrators cleared another hurdle in rebuilding the airline today when the Federal Court approved a $200 million Air New Zealand compensation package for Ansett.

ACTU Secretary Greg Combet has welcomed the Court’s decision, saying it cleared the way for Ansett’s Administrators to get on with developing a viable business and saving as many Ansett jobs as possible.

Under the deal, Air New Zealand has agreed to pay $150 million to Ansett by October 19 as part of a settlement of commercial claims between the airline groups.

But Mr Combet warned that the opportunities for re-building Ansett and saving jobs presented by the compensation package could easily be lost if the Federal Government persisted with its demand that the $150 million be used to fund its inadequate employee entitlements scheme.

“It’s commonsense that the best way to protect employee entitlements is to save jobs. But John Howard and John Anderson seem to be dedicated to doing everything they can to ensure that Ansett is liquidated and every one of these 17,000 workers loses their job,” said Mr Combet.

“This compensation package has now been approved by the Court.

“The Federal Government should respect that decision and let Ansett’s Administrators get on with their job of building a viable business and saving Ansett jobs.

“The Government should keep its hands off the $150 million and let the Administrators deal with it in accordance with the agreement approved by the Court,” Mr Combet said.

“It’s time the Federal Government started giving Ansett workers and their families a fair go. Is it really too much to ask that the Australian Government should support Australian jobs?”