Today is the final day for bids to come in for Virgin Airlines, with the Queensland government standing firm on theirs.
The state is prepared to put in $200 million, for what could be a partnership stake in the struggling company.
The move faced heavy criticism for the decision yesterday, with federal Minister Peter Dutton calling it a dangerous election stunt and that Queensland is in too much debt to even consider it.
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Local Gold Coast leaders, including Mayor Tom Tate, have since come out in support of the move, saying it will secure jobs for our tourism industry.
New Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick has told The Today Show this morning that it’s the right thing to do for Queensland, and the government is going ahead with it.
“Our commitment at this stage is $200 million, and there are, we think as part of the indicative bid process which will close today, we think there’ll be three or four bid partners that will be serious and come forward.
“That’s the reason for the indicative bid, the tyre kickers go out and the serious players stay in.
“And that’s when QIC (Queensland Investment Commission) will engage with them, and look at what they’ve got on the table, what those private sector entities want to invest.
“Then we will make a decision about whether we go forward with our commitment to save 5,000 jobs here in our state, or whether we withdraw.
“But we have to be in it to win it, we have to protect jobs and regional communities,” Minister Dick said.
Yesterday, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk also said this was the best way forward to protect Queensland jobs, and that she couldn’t understand how critics couldn’t see that.
“It is absolutely vital that we keep jobs in tourism, that we can back an airline that’s based here in Queensland and we back the workers right across regional Queensland as well.
“And it’s all the flow on jobs as well, it’s not just the people who work in the airlines, it’s the taxis that come and pick up the tourists, it’s the hospitality workers that drive our tourism across regional Queensland, and I will always stand up for Queensland and backing Queensland jobs.
“We know that this COVID-19 is having a big impact nationally, it’s having a big impact on people’s jobs and livelihoods and I just want to make sure that the people of this state know that I am 100 percent with you.
“It is just too important in this day and age for there to be fights, it’s is about working together,” the Premier said.
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