Queensland tells New South Wales to back off on stealing Virgin
Published Monday, 20 April, 2020 at 08:51 AM
Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning
The Honourable Cameron Dick
The Palaszczuk Government has today warned it will fight any attempt by New South Wales to steal Virgin Australia from Queensland to Sydney.
Minister for State Development Cameron Dick blasted New South Wales Treasurer Dominic Perrottet for trying to relocate the Virgin Headquarters to Sydney.
“At a time when their jobs hang in the balance, the 1200 Queensland families who depend on those head office jobs should not have to face the threat of being forced to move to Sydney,” Mr Dick said.
“This is a time of national crisis, all governments should be working together to support jobs, not threatening them with the disruption and dislocation of an interstate move.
“Any move south would also worsen the company’s financial problems, as it would face higher Sydney costs of leasing, housing and traffic congestion.”
Mr Dick also demanded the federal government come clean on what it is doing to prevent Queensland jobs being stolen.
“The Sydney-centric federal government has bailed out New South Wales by pouring billions of taxpayer funds into building the Western Sydney Airport.
“Yet they won’t lift a finger to help Queensland’s own airline, Virgin Australia.
“Is there a secret deal to prop up the federal government’s Western Sydney Airport by forcing Virgin to move there?”
“It was reported on Sunday that the federal government had drafted principles to ensure Australia has a two airline policy, and I am calling on the federal government to release those principles immediately and to guarantee that a second carrier head office will remain in Queensland, to retain as many existing Virgin employees as possible.
Mr Dick warned that if a bidding war began, other state governments would pay a heavy price.
“At a time of crisis, we should not get into a bidding war, but if it comes down to it, other states and need to know that our government will stop at nothing to win it," he said.
“Those 1200 Virgin head office employees deserve nothing less.
“I call on state and territory governments to guarantee that they will not seek to dismember our second national carrier and they will not undermine Queensland efforts to preserve the livelihoods of the 1200 families who rely on head office jobs.
Mr Dick said that Queensland was the home of aviation, the birthplace of both national carriers.
“Our first national carrier, Qantas, left Queensland in 1938 chasing federal government mail contracts.
“The federal government in 2020 must not let that happen again.
“We will not hesitate to publicly identify any state that is engaging in an underhand effort to dislocate and disrupt the lives of Virgin’s hard-working staff.
“We will not stand by and watch other states or the federal government use workers as a political football.
“Now is not the time for states to be spending money to compete, it is the time to spend money to cooperate, in the national interest.
“Virgin is a national airline, and their survival demands a national response.”
Media contact: Lesley Major 0419 288 284