Queensland government to make rescue bid for stricken Virgin Australia

Queensland’s Treasurer Cameron Dick has called on the government to take a financial stake in Virgin Australia, calling it a bid that it ‘can’t afford not to make’ with the airline currently in danger of collapse.

The carrier – with its headquarters in Brisbane – went into voluntary administration late last month, owing more than A$7 billion to creditors. Up to 10,000 Virgin Australia employees could lose their jobs if the company becomes insolvent.

However, Queensland Government officials announced on Wednesday that the state is submitting a bid to invest in the airline, which could take the form of a direct equity stake, a loan, guarantee or other financial incentives.

The state government had already offered a $200 million support package, conditional on Federal Government backing, days before the airline went into administration. Dick said yesterday the Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC) would work with administrators regarding a rescue deal.

“[QIC] will look very carefully at how we invest, if we invest at all,” he said. “I want to save 5,000 jobs, keep the airline the best we can and support regional Queensland and keep those jobs, particularly the headquarters for Virgin in Queensland.

“We can’t stand idly by and let an airline collapse and expect regional Queenslanders to suffer. The only way we can do that is to engage with the administrator and get in the game.”