Payroll tax relief urged for Qantas

TASMANIA'S information and communication technology sector has called for payroll tax relief to be offered to Qantas as an incentive to keep its Tasmanian call centre open.

Three hundred jobs are in doubt at the Glenorchy centre after it was confirmed that the airline is reviewing three centres across Australia.

Unions fear that the centres could be moved to New Zealand, after Qantas announced that it was recruiting in Auckland.

TasICT executive officer Dean Winter said the same payroll tax incentives that were offered to the Vodafone call centre last year should be offered to Qantas.

"Payroll tax relief has been proven time and time again to be the key to bringing new business and keeping existing business in Tasmania," he said.

"In an unprecedented step, Vodafone actually on-shored its call centre operations from India to Tasmania after it received payroll tax relief."

Premier Lara Giddings said Labor had submitted a proposal to Qantas to make Glenorchy the airline's one and only Australian call centre.

"The Department of Economic Development has met Qantas management to outline an incentive package including a payroll tax waiver for all positions relocated from interstate, temporary payroll relief for the existing local workforce and infrastructure assistance to expand the Glenorchy centre," Ms Giddings said.

"With the right commercial incentives as well as Tasmania's lifestyle advantages, we're confident our proposal has a strong chance of success."

Liberal leader Will Hodgman said he had spoken to Qantas management and contacted the Department of Economic Development to indicate support for ongoing discussions with the airline.

"We will work hard to keep these jobs in Tasmania," Mr Hodgman said.

The lease on the Hobart centre is set to expire in June.


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