Virgin bid needs regional benefits
REGIONAL benefits will need to be front and centre in the State Government's bid to keep Virgin Australia in Queensland.
Burdekin MP Dale Last said competition was the key to driving the cost of flights down in regional areas.
The Queensland Government yesterday announced it had appointed the Queensland Investment Corporation to facilitate and manage the State's bid for the airline to remain in Brisbane.
"It's time for the Labor government to stand up for regional Queensland for once," Mr Last said.
"Regardless of who purchases Virgin Airlines, if they want concessions from the Queensland Government, there needs to be 'strings attached' and those strings need to benefit all Queenslanders, not just the southeast."
Mundingburra MP Coralee O'Rourke said losing Virgin would be significant for Townsville.
"A return to having just one airline carrier will force prices up for people living in Townsville and for those wishing to travel to the city," she said.
Townsville MP Scott Stewart said keeping Townsville connected to the rest of Australia was important.
"If we don't have two airlines providing services to Townsville, local businesses will miss out on important income," he said.
But Federal Herbert MP Phillip Thompson said this was an example of "gross mismanagement of Queensland taxpayer funds".
"Cameron Dick just took over the Treasurer's job from Jackie, and in his first act he wants to blow millions on a majority-foreign-owned airline riddled with debt," Mr Thompson said.
"This money could be far better used funding shovel-ready projects in Townsville, or supporting small businesses with grants to help survive COVID-19."
Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto said Katter's Australian Party supported the move, but wanted to make sure the State Government spent the money wisely.
Originally published as Virgin bid needs regional benefits