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Hitting back at criticisms levelled at the overnight announcement, the state’s newly appointed treasurer, Cameron Dick, says the government is not looking to buy the airline outright but place itself in the “best position” to be a partner in a successful bid.
He also levelled criticism at the federal government for “not backing” the state and said he would not be “distracted” by comments from Home Affairs Minister and federal Queensland MP Peter Dutton.
Mr Dick said he had tasked the Queensland Investment Corporation to work with Virgin’s administrator and proposed bidders to try and secure “as many of those 5000 [Virgin] jobs as we can when the airline comes out of administration”.
“[But] we are going to strike a very hard bargain,” he said. “Foreign banks and foreign bond holders are going to have to take a haircut out of this.”
The $200 million offer announced by the government early in the airline’s downfall was still on the cards, though it would look to see what the other bids looked like.
“We know other states are interested in this,” Mr Dick said. “Refusing to engage with this issue creates all sorts of uncertainty … and we have to keep Virgin flying the best we can.”