January 31, 2020


The Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) today calls on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to immediately suspend all incoming flights from China to Australia in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said the Federal Government must take urgent action to protect its own citizens, and to help prevent a potentially devastating global pandemic.

“Suspending flights originating from China may appear to be a drastic measure. But the consequence of inaction could be even more drastic,” Mr Kaine said.

“We need national leadership now.

“Air travel is the most efficient means for the virus to spread, and already has been integral to the spread of the virus to at least 18 other countries around the world.

“So far there have been nine cases of coronavirus confirmed in Australia, and more are being tested.

“Person-to-person transmission of the coronavirus has now been confirmed in China, Japan, Germany and the USA.

“The rapid spread of the virus has led the World Health Organisation to declare a new strain of coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern.

“What’s more, viruses such as coronavirus can mutate quickly, therefore this disease may become even more dangerous as it replicates.

“Until more information about this form of coronavirus is known, then the precautionary principle must apply.

“That means taking all possible steps to contain the virus and protect the Australian community.

“All flights from China must be suspended until this disease is under control.”

The TWU is dealing with concerns of airport workers and has written to airports, airlines and aviation companies requesting details of what policies and procedures they have in place to protect staff, their families and the general public.

“The Federal government must ensure that airports and airlines are implementing robust polices from the top and that all companies within their supply chains are following them. The fractured nature of aviation poses a real risk to workers and passengers,” Mr Kaine said.



Nick Lucchinelli 0422 229 032 or Philippa Hatton 0418 982 257


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