Queensland Government announces bid for cash-strapped Virgin Australia

The Queensland government says it has appointed a state-owned funds management group to manage a bid for a stake in Virgin Australia.

Grounded Virgin Australia planes at Tullamarine Airport in Melbourne.

Grounded Virgin Australia planes at Tullamarine Airport in Melbourne. Source: AAP

The Queensland Government has announced it will make a bid for Virgin Australia after it went into voluntary administration last month.

Australia's second-largest airline has debts close to $7 billion after being hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Queensland's newly-appointed Treasurer Cameron Dick said "Project Maroon" would create jobs in the state that had been lost due to the coronavirus.

“My number one focus as Treasurer is to retain and create jobs for Queenslanders, particularly as we move beyond the COVID-19 crisis," he said in a statement.

“We have been very clear. Two sustainable, national airlines are critical to Australia’s economy.

“We have an opportunity to retain not only head office and crew staff in Queensland, but also to grow jobs in the repairs, maintenance and overhaul sector and support both direct and indirect jobs in our tourism sector."

The state-owned management group - Queensland Investment Corporation - will advise government on all aspects of the bid under the direction of chief executive Damien Frawley.

"We are well-equipped to manage the state's interest in Virgin Australia Holdings should the consortium be successful," Mr Frawley said.

"QIC's track record as an acquirer, owner and manager of nationally critical infrastructure for both the Queensland government and long-term investors supports our consortium bid.

Mr Frawley said Virgin's administrator, Deloitte "has set an ambitious time frame" as they seek to conclude the sale process by June 2020.

Published 13 May 2020 at 7:34pm, updated 13 May 2020 at 7:42pm