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Karl Stefanovic stumps Queensland’s treasurer about extraordinary plan to buy Virgin Australia

Karl Stefanovic stumps Queensland’s treasurer with a simple question during a heated discussion about the state government’s extraordinary plan to buy Virgin Australia

  • Karl Stefanovic interviewed Queensland treasurer over government airline bid 
  • When asked what Virgin Australia’s running costs were treasurer was stumped 
  • QLD government wants to invest in a partial stake or guarantee for the airline 

Karl Stefanovic has left the Queensland treasurer searching for words after asking a simple question about the state government’s bid to save Virgin Australia. 

The Today program’s host interviewed treasurer Cameron Dick on Friday morning over the bid to invest as much as $200 million in the troubled airline. 

The moment unfolded when Stefanovic asked the treasurer about the financial state of the airline.  

‘What are the current operating expenses for Virgin per quarter?’ the Today host asked the minister.

‘Karl, that’s a matter for the administrator, that’s not known to me,’ Mr Dick said

Adminstrators were appointed on the airline in April 2020 after it was revealed the airline was $7 billion in debt as the coronavirus pandemic shut down national and international travel. 

‘So you’re buying an airline business, and you don’t know what running expenses are?’ Stefanovic asked. 

The question prompted an awkward pause from the treasurer. 

‘No, no, I’m not buying the airline business, Karl,’ Mr Dick answered. 

‘You are contributing to that. You don’t know what running expenses are,’ Stefanovic said. 

Mr Dick then explained the government was relying on advice from the Queensland Investment Corporation whom he said were at the ‘pointy end’ of the deal. 

‘They will give us the advice we need to make the right decision. If it doesn’t stack up, we’re not going to invest,’ Mr Dick said. 

The Queensland government wants to step in and save the Brisbane based airline to protect 5,000 jobs and keep flights running to the state’s regional tourist hotspots. 

Treasurer Cameron Dick spoke on Friday morning over the bid to invest as much as $200 million in the troubled airline 

Administrators Deloitte have asked for non-binding indicative bids from investors by the end of Friday. 

The Queensland government’s plan involves not buying the airline outright but either investing in a partial stake or providing some sort of financial guarantee or backing.  

Mr Dick also explained the administration process would see the $7 billion in debt cleared leaving a ‘viable’ airline. 

He said a second airline was important for Australia and for Queensland which relies heavily on tourism dollars. 

He added that investing in the airline was ‘the right thing to do to protect Queensland’s interests.’ 

The plan has caused criticism from the federal government with Home Affairs minister Peter Dutton calling the bid ‘laughable’. 

In the same tweet he accused Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk of having ‘almost bankrupted’ the state and of leading a ‘corrupt’ government. 

He appeared to be referring to the shock resignation of former Treasurer Jackie Trad on Sunday over corruption allegations. 

Stefanovic asked the treasurer about the financial state of the airline and he was stumped

Stefanovic asked the treasurer about the financial state of the airline and he was stumped 

Mr Dick, who has only just step into the Treasurer role, said he wanted the airline in the best shape possible and would be striking a hard bargain with any other investors. 

Delloite reportedly has interest in the airline from a number of investors with the possibility some could form a consortium to buy the airline. 

Experts have said a second airline is vital to keep interstate airfares at reasonable prices. 

As lockdown restrictions are eased interstate travel is expected to ramp up again in the second half of 2020. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk