Helloworld has responded to media reports concerning meetings between QBT and the government.
SMH and the Age published reports suggesting that the Australian Ambassador to the US, Joe Hockey, who is one of Helloworld’s 20 largest shareholders, may have encouraged staff to meet with QBT in Washington, DC ahead of its bid for a government contract.
QBT was awarded a contract in 2015 to provide travel management services to Commonwealth Government Agencies, including DFAT.
According to Helloworld, in 2017, QBT met with DFAT personnel in the US to discuss the provision of travel management services to the US by the company’s request.
“QBT understands DFAT personnel met a number of travel service providers as part of its considerations in relation to the provision of travel services in the US,” Helloworld said in a statement.
In August 2018, DFAT started a formal tender process, which QBT responded to, but no announcement has been made in relation to the tender.
“At no time has ambassador Hockey or Helloworld CEO Andrew Burnes discussed the DFAT tender and neither Mr Hockey nor MR Burnes have had any involvement in the tender process. Mr Burnes did not request the meeting wit hDFAT personnel in the United States.” the company said.
“At all times Helloworld and Mr Burnes have acted properly in the tender process.”