News National PM says Qantas must get house in order

PM says Qantas must get house in order

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Amid reports of massive job cuts tipped for next week, Qantas has been urged by Prime Minister Tony Abbott to “put its house in order”.

Mr Abbott said reports that the company planned to cut as many as 3000 jobs were just speculation.

“Qantas is a very important iconic Australian business and I want Qantas to flourish. But like every other private business Qantas has got to put its house in order,” he told reporters in Tasmania.

“It’s important that it does so. There are plenty of signs that Qantas is serious about putting its house in order and I’d encourage them to get on with that particular job.”

Qantas is tipped to outline major job cuts in response to massive financial losses when it announces its half-year results next week.

On Friday, the company denied the market speculation of job cuts and shedding of some overseas routes.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said he would not comment on speculation.

But he said the government did consider the Qantas Sale Act imposed restrictions which made it harder for the company to compete in a very competitive market.

“Our view is those restrictions should be removed and it will be up to the parliament eventually no doubt to form a formal view,” he told Sky News.

Senator Cormann said the government was considering some proposals from Qantas.

“When we are in a position to make an announcement, we will make it,” he said.

Labor frontbencher Matt Thistlethwaite said rumours of job cuts were deeply concerning.

“Labor doesn’t believe that we need to be getting rid of the Qantas Sale Act provisions… that ensure Qantas remains our national carrier, that it remains in Australian hands,” he told Sky.

Mr Thistlethwaite said the airline would not now exist had the Qantas Sale Act not prevented a proposed private equity takeover ahead of the global financial crisis.

“Those provisions have served Qantas, our nation and its employees well,” he said.