The Queensland Government has warned New South Wales to “back off” on its attempt to “steal” Virgin Australia.
Queensland Minister for State Development Cameron Dick blasted New South Wales Treasurer Dominic Perrottet for trying to relocate the airline’s headquarters from Queensland 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,” said Dick.
“Any move south would also worsen the company’s financial problems, as it would face higher Sydney costs of leasing, housing and traffic congestion.”
Perrottet has confirmed the New South Wales Government is in negotiations with Virgin Australia to provide financial support, but says it will need to move its headquarters to the new Western Sydney Airport site.
“I’m always open for businesses right across the country to relocate to New South Wales and create jobs here in our state,” Perrottet told Sky News.
The discussions come after the Queensland Government offered a $200 million lifeline to help the airline stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dick demands answers over ‘secret deal’
Dick has also demanded the Federal Government “come clean” on what it is doing to prevent Queensland jobs being lost.
“The Sydney-centric Federal Government has bailed out New South Wales by pouring billions of taxpayer funds into building the Western Sydney Airport,” he said.
“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?”
Dick said if a bidding war between states begins, the Queensland Government will “stop at nothing to win it”.
“Those 1200 Virgin head office employees deserve nothing less,” he said.
“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.”
Dick added Queensland is the birthplace of both of Australia’s national carriers.
“Our first national carrier, Qantas, left Queensland in 1938 chasing Federal Government mail contracts,” he said.
“The Federal Government in 2020 must not let that happen again.”