State’s airline bid “a distraction”, MP says
MEMBER for Gregory Lachlan Millar on Friday labelled the Queensland Government’s potential investment in Virgin Australia “a distraction”.
The Queensland Government recently announced it was willing to buy a stake in Virgin Australia, which went into voluntary administration last month.
Several private investors are reported to be considering stepping in.
“It should be a market-led solution,” Mr Millar said.
“We need two airlines in Australia, but the State Government is not in a position to run an airline.
“The treasurer should look at supporting local businesses rather than trying to prop up an airline owned by overseas billionaires.”
He said the State Government “can’t even get the trains to run on time”.
“I’d hate to see what it’d do to an airline,” Mr Millar said.
“This is the Labor Party looking for a distraction where they should be support small businesses.”
Emerald Chamber of Commerce president Victor Cominos said he would prefer the state’s money be better distributed by establishing a bank that would make loans to small businesses.
“I believe that the Queensland Government has more important priorities than buying an airline,” he said.
“It’s time that money was set aside to help small business. Instead of putting a big parcel of money into one entity, they should be setting up a bank where all of the people of Queensland have an opportunity to benefit.
“The acquisition of the likes of Virgin is not going to assist everybody.”
Member for Rockhampton Barry O’Rourke said the state’s goal was to sustain competition in the airline industry.
“Fares in an out of Central Queensland are already higher than they should be,” he said.
“The loss of competition in Queensland skies won’t bring fares down and it’s residents and local business who will wear the cost.
“It will mean people who need to travel south for medical appointments or for business will pay more while the cost of a Central Queensland holiday will go up with knock on effects for local jobs.”