Karl Stefanovic stumps the Queensland treasurer with a simple question during a heated discussion about the state government’s extraordinary plan to buy Virgin Australia
- Karl Stefanovic interviewed the Queensland Treasurer about the government’s offer
- When asked what Virgin Australia’s running costs were, treasurer was stumped
- The QLD government wants to invest in a partial interest or guarantee for the airline
Karl Stefanovic left the Queensland Treasurer in search of words after asking a simple question about the state government’s offer to save Virgin Australia.
Today’s presenter interviewed Treasurer Cameron Dick on Friday about the bid to invest a whopping $ 200 million in the troubled airline.
The moment came when Stefanovic asked the treasurer about the airline’s financial condition.
“What are the current operating costs for Virgin per quarter?” today’s host asked the minister.
“Karl, that is a matter for the administrator, I do not know,” said Mr. Dick
Administrators were appointed to the airline in April 2020 after it was revealed that the airline had $ 7 billion in debt when the coronavirus pandemic ended national and international travel.
“So you buy an airline and you don’t know what the running costs are?” Stefanovic asked.
The question caused an uncomfortable pause for the treasurer.
“No, no, I don’t buy an airline, Karl,” Mr. Dick replied.
“You contribute to that. You don’t know what the running costs are, ”said Stefanovic.
Mr. Dick then explained that the government relied on advice from the Queensland Investment Corporation, which he said was on the “pointy end” of the deal.
“They give us the advice we need to make the right decision. If it doesn’t pile up, we’re not going to invest, ”said Mr. Dick.
The Queensland government wants to step in and rescue the Brisbane-based airline to protect 5,000 jobs and keep flights to the state’s regional tourist hotspots.
Treasurer Cameron Dick spoke Friday morning about the offer to invest as much as $ 200 million in the troubled airline
Managers Deloitte asked for non-binding indicative bids from investors at the end of Friday.
The Queensland government’s plan is that the airline will not be purchased directly, but will either invest in a partial interest or provide some sort of financial guarantee or support.
Mr. Dick also explained that the administration process would ensure that the $ 7 billion in debt is paid off and that it leaves a “viable” airline.
He said a second airline was important to Australia and Queensland, which relies heavily on tourist dollars.
He added that investing in the airline was “the right thing to do to protect Queensland’s interests.”
The plan sparked criticism from the federal government, with Home Secretary Peter Dutton calling the offer “ridiculous.”
In the same tweet, he accused Queensland Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk of “almost bankrupting” the state and leading a “corrupt” government.
He seemed to refer to the shocking resignation of former treasurer Jackie Trad on Sunday over corruption charges.
Stefanovic asked the treasurer about the airline’s financial condition and he was stumped
Mr. Dick, who has only just stepped into the role of treasurer, said he wanted the airline to be in the best possible shape and that he would make a hard deal with other investors.
Delloite is reportedly interested in the airline of a number of investors, with the possibility that some could form a consortium to buy the airline.
Experts have said that a second airline is vital to keeping interstate fares at reasonable prices.
As lockdown restrictions are relaxed, travel between states is expected to increase again in the second half of 2020.