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Peter Dutton slams Qld Virgin bid as ‘laughable’

written by Sandy Milne | May 14, 2020
A Virgin Australia 737-8FE (Source: Australian Aviation archives)

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has lashed out at the Queensland government’s decision to bid for Virgin Australia, saying a successful bid would put the airline “back on the market in six months”.

On Wednesday night, Minister Dutton posted a controversial update to his Twitter account, calling the bid “laughable”.

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Speaking to host Ray Hadley on 2GB radio Thursday morning, Minister Dutton doubled down on his comments, labelling the plans a “political stunt” in the lead up to the state election in October. He also said that the government could potentially wind up spending millions of dollars, despite supposedly being aware that it does not have a realistic chance of being successful in its bid.

“Don’t forget, that Premier [Annastacia] Palaszczuk… every credit card that she has is already maxed out,” he said. “They don’t have one dollar in the bank … They’re marching towards $100 billion of debt … and they’re now talking about buying an airline, it just doesn’t make any sense.”

The state’s Treasurer and Minister for Infrastructure Cameron Dick previously said that the financial package could take the form of a direct equity stake, a loan, guarantee or other financial incentives. State-owned funds management group Queensland Investment Corporation has since been appointed to oversee the bid.

“This is a competitive space, but Queensland is a serious contender and our discussions with the administrators have been making progress,” Minister Dick said.

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The minister is part of the cabinet team spearheading the bid, dubbed “Project Maroon” by Queensland officials, and came out in defence against Minister Dutton’s comments on Twitter.

Minister Dick’s comments seem to reference Minister Dutton’s handling of the Ruby Princess crisis, which sparked 22 coronavirus-related fatalities, hundreds of cases, and a state inquiry into the matter.

Virgin Australia had initially hoped to cut a deal with the federal government, asking them for a bailout package worth approximately $1.4 billion, but this proposal was rejected publicly by Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.

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7 Comments

  • Lechuga

    says:

    He is right though, shouldn’t be shelling money out like that when you’re cooked financially. Let it go where they decide it needs to go. Focus on the health of the state not spending money you don’t have on something that’s not even guaranteed to survive.

  • It appears that the FEDERAL L.N.P. assistance, aid, support, subsidy for REX is acceptable even though a few days later later after pleading for money, and getting it, from the deputy prime minister they are in a position to take over or replace Virgin on domestic routes

  • Gary

    says:

    Dutton is spot on. Like the Qld government VA is a basket case financially. A marriage doomed to fail. As with Dick “Project Maroon????” What the? The only people who will like this title are the people who actually wont fly with and keep VA in business. People who are dyed in the wool Queenslanders who never want to leave the State. More pain for Qld tax payers if this goes ahead.

  • Marum

    says:

    Delusions of grandeur. Have we a female version of Joh reborn. I am a proud Queenslander, but an Australian first and foremost. What is wrong with this lady?

    Amazing….Marum.

  • Rob

    says:

    Wouldn’t trust the QLD Government to service my lawn mower let alone run an airline! Dutton is spot on!

  • Marum

    says:

    BTW @Gary. “Dyed in the wool Queenslander?” That’s me. I have worked all round the South Pacific, and a bit of SE Asia. I speak three languages – admittedly “Hablo Espanol un poco.” aber : “Ich sprechen ein paar Worter auf Deutsch.” na ; “Mi kisim liklik save lo Tokpisin.” and I am learning Tagalog. I have worked in Sydney and Melbourne, and they don’t appeal to me. I adore our tropical north. Plus, I am part Aboriginal by bloodlines – my Mum’s dad. I am Austraian first and foremost. So don’t slag off at us Queenslanders. We don’t take kindly to gratuitous, paternalistic, insults, from people from the southern states.

    There are only a couple of places, in which I would live as happily as Queensland. PNG and the Filipines, are they. “People who are dyed in the wool Queenslanders who never want to leave the State.” Indeed! I am busting for flights to restart, so I can fly to NIAI, and commence a long-planned holiday.

    Paalam ng magalang….Marum pusa.

  • Patrickk

    says:

    Dear oh dear of course it makes sense for the government to put money on the table to keep a major employer in Queensland as it pays it all back in taxes and fees just like other states and Australia gives incentives for local investment.

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