Cameron Dick says a government bid for a stake in Virgin Australia is about protecting 5000 jobs in the state.

“We are looking at all the options we are not taking anything off the table,” he said.
State-owned Queensland Investment Corporation, on behalf of the Palaszczuk government, has been talking to a number of consortiums bidding for Virgin Australia, including Canadian investor Brookfield, but has not locked in a deal with anyone ahead of Friday’s deadline.
Senior Morrison government ministers, including Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and Agriculture Minister David Littleproud who are both Queenslanders ridiculed the Palaszczuk Labor government for trying to buy a stake in the beleaguered airline.
Mr Littleproud described it as a “populous brain fart” ahead of October’s state election, while Mr Dutton said the debt-riddled Queensland government should not take the Sunshine State further into debt.
“Annastacia Palaszczuk has brought Queensland to the brink of bankruptcy and now she wants to buy an airline? It’s dangerous,” Mr Dutton said.
Mr Dick, who was sworn in as Treasurer only on Monday, defended the potential investment, saying he was well aware it was taxpayers’ money.
He brushed off comparisons with the Beattie government’s $100 million investment in Australian Magnesium Corporation in the early 2000s before it went belly up.
“I’m very satisfied with the level of risk because Australia needs a second airline,” he said.
But Mr Dick said to revive the airline, some foreign investors who are owed $6.8 billion from Virgin might need to “take a haircut” on their debts.
“We are going to strike a very hard bargain … we need the best possible airline in the best possible shape out of administration,” he said.
The Queensland government says its interest in buying a stake in Virgin is about ensuring Australia has a second full-service carrier.  AP
The Queensland government lured Virgin to Brisbane in 2000 with an $11 million financial incentive package including tax relief. But an equity stake in the airline is a riskier proposition.
Ratings Agency S&P warned that Queensland’s fiscal position, like other states, was expected to weaken over the next two years with “elevated debts for a number of years”, so any equity stake, such as in Virgin Australia, would have to be considered carefully.
“There’s headroom within our ‘AA+’ rating on Queensland to absorb some fiscal weakening and higher spending, such as equity stakes,” S&P Global Ratings analyst Anthony Walker said.
“Even so, Queenslands fiscal position is currently under increased pressure because of COVID-19, like all Australian states, and we would need to assess the scale of any investment and the risks it may present to the state’s finances.”
Mr Walker said the agency expected the Queensland economy and budget would improve over the next two years as the COVID-19 economic impact subsided.