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Thursday, 10 September 2020

As a business and an industry, we find ourselves in unprecedented circumstances.

Given the state of our industry and the level of uncertainty that continues to grow, we need to undertake necessary changes to ensure a viable business in the long term. Therefore, we have applied to the Industrial Relations Commission for orders allowing us to temporarily stand down workers due to the severe impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on our business.

The first mention of the matters occurred yesterday, and a hearing has been set for 25 September.

This is something we hoped we would never need to consider, however, the ongoing economic impact of closed borders has made our situation untenable.

Our passenger traffic and related income have been decimated since late March, however, to date, we have managed to keep most of our permanent staff employed throughout the pandemic. Unfortunately, in the short term this cannot continue, though for the sake of the region we need to be able to ramp up quickly to take advantage of the recovery when it inevitably occurs. 

Whilst the airport can and does have a large impact on our region, we are not a large company in terms of workforce. Our staff are an incredibly important part of who we are, which makes this course of action particularly difficult to take. However, our responsibility is to ensure we have a strong viable airport to service our region well into the future.

We have been unsuccessful in securing JobKeeper funding, despite continuing to prosecute our case with the ATO. This has clearly placed more financial strain on the business.

We remain confident about tourism in our region and the ambitious plans we have for the airport. This news is also a timely reminder of the need for the government to invest in the aviation industry.

Newcastle Airport has a once in a generation opportunity to upgrade our runway, which will deliver jobs and build hope. We are imploring the government to grasp this opportunity and deliver this significant stimulus project for the region and for the nation. The time is now.

Ends.

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