Posted on 06 February 2014.
1PM UPDATE: The state government has agreed to give Jetstar $2.25 million, on the back of a $7.65 million handout to related company Qantas.
Tourism Minister Liza Harvey claimed the deal with Jetstar would help Western Australia’s continued growth as a holiday destination with the state promoted in domestic tourism markets and Singapore through joint advertising.
Mrs Harvey said the last aviation agreement with Jetstar, signed in 2010, had been a big success and delivered a significant return on investment for the government.
“The previous marketing activities with Jetstar led to thousands of additional passengers into WA from the east coast, boosting our tourism economy by millions of dollars,” she said.
Mrs Harvey said the Jetstar handout helped address the perception that it was expensive to fly to WA from other parts of Australia.
“Research has shown us that the cost of flights to Perth from Melbourne or Sydney had been a barrier for people wanting to visit WA,” she said.
“This agreement with Jetstar is important because it promotes low cost fares to WA, as well as the extraordinary experiences visitors can enjoy here during their holidays.”
The Jetstar deal is the second major aviation handout the state government has approved in the past five months. Last September, Tourism WA signed a three-year, $7.65 million deal with Qantas, which will see WA promoted interstate and in international markets including the UK, USA, Germany and Singapore.
Meanwhile, two Jetstar companies were today fined a total of $90,000 for unlawfully making six cadet pilots responsible for training costs and making deductions from their wages, despite receiving advice the deductions contravened workplace laws.
Jetstar Group Pty Ltd and Jetstar Airways Pty Ltd were each fined $45,000 in the Federal Court in Sydney after admitting they breached the Fair Work Act.
The penalties are the result of legal action by the Fair Work Ombudsman.
The six pilots were recruited between October, 2010 and January, 2011 and were employed on New Zealand individual contracts through a New Zealand-based Jetstar subsidiary while they underwent six months of training.
At the conclusion of the training, the cadet pilots’ employment was transferred to Australian entity Jetstar Group.
Justice Robert Buchanan found that Jetstar continued to pursue plans to recover training costs from the cadet pilots despite advice that this was unlawful under Australia’s Air Pilots Award 2010.
Jetstar deducted a total of $17,500 from the cadet pilots’ wages between June and September 2011 before the practice was ceased and the money was returned to them in November 2011, following a legal challenge by the Australian Federation of Air Pilots.
Deductions were made from all six pilots’ wages, including one pilot who had refused to agree to the deductions.
Justice Buchanan said Jetstar showed a lack of contrition.
“The respondents used their vastly superior bargaining power to effectively brush aside any personal resistance by cadet pilots, not desisting until the AFAP stepped in,” he said.
“The conduct of Jetstar Group and Jetstar Airways was calculated solely by reference to their assessment of their own commercial interests and their determination that the cadet pilots should be ultimately responsible for the cost of their training.”
Imposing penalties at 68 per cent of the available maximum, Justice Buchanan said, “I think it is appropriate to mark the Court’s disapproval of what was done”.
The Fair Work Ombudsman’s separate legal proceedings against Jetstar Airways Pty Ltd, as well as Singapore company Valuair Limited and Thai company Tour East (T.E.T.) Limited are ongoing.
In these proceedings the Fair Work Ombudsman alleges that cabin crew employed by Valuair and Tour East (T.E.T.) to work on domestic flights for Jetstar were subject to Australian workplace laws.
These allegations are being contested by Valuair, Tour East (T.E.T.) and Jetstar Airways. A hearing is scheduled for April 7 in the Federal Court in Sydney.
Photo: ‘Bidgee’, Wikimedia Commons