Qantas in discussions on alcohol and drugs program

Sydney, 14 March 2003

Qantas is in discussion with the ACTU and other Unions about the implementation of a new alcohol and drugs program.

Qantas Executive General Manager Human Resources Kevin Brown said the new program was in the early stages of development and had yet to be finalised.

"Qantas is talking to Unions about its alcohol and other drugs program because we have a duty of care toward our employees. The nature of our business means we must ensure a safe work environment.

"Qantas has always maintained a zero blood alcohol and drug free policy within all of its workplaces. Employees of Qantas and its wholly-owned subsidiaries are not permitted to consume alcohol or other drugs in public while in Qantas uniform," he added.

Mr Brown said the airline was in the process of revising its policy and the new draft proposal included a requirement for employees to submit to breath testing and urine testing:

* prior to employment; * after accidents or incidents; * upon reasonable suspicion; * after self-referral; * where required by aviation regulations or law; or* in accordance with the alcohol and drug random selection procedure.

"The new draft program follows best practice and legislative requirements and will incorporate three principal elements - education, rehabilitation and testing," Mr Brown said.

"Comments from some Unions appear to be exaggerating the current status of our discussions. We have been in consultation with both employees and the Unions for the past six months and we have not concluded the final format of the program."

Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (2888)