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Queensland government to bid for Virgin Australia to support state’s tourism sector

Ben Butler reports in The Guardian (13.5.20) on the Palaszczuk government’s attempts to secure the financial future of Virgin Australia and its Queensland-based workforce, as the state’s Treasurer considers forming a consortium bid to salvage the debt-ridden airline.

‘The Queensland government says it will bid for Virgin Australia in an attempt to keep the stricken airline’s headquarters in Brisbane and support the state’s tourism sector, which has been savaged by the coronavirus crisis.

‘The treasurer, Cameron Dick, said the state was willing to buy equity in a resurrected Virgin Australia, but could also invest through other methods including a loan or guarantee.

‘The government has appointed the state-owned Queensland Investment Corporation to manage the bid, which has been dubbed “Project Maroon” – the state’s colour when it plays New South Wales in State of Origin rugby league games.

‘Dick said Queensland intended to bid as part of a consortium but did not name any potential partners.

‘Other reported bidders for the airline, which collapsed into administration last month, include consortiums led by the mining magnate Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest and private equity group BGH Capital, as well as specialist airline investor Indigo.

‘Dick said Australia needed two airlines and the government was determined to avoid a repeat of the situation after the collapse of Ansett, when Qantas enjoyed a near-monopoly.’

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