Scott Morrison must not let ideology get in the way of the urgent need to save Virgin Australia.
Labor welcomes the Government’s announcement that it will cover an initial eight weeks of flights on a number of critical metropolitan and regional routes. It is particularly important to ensuring Australians can get home safely after completing quarantine, and to support ongoing essential travel and freight while Covid-19 travel restrictions are in place.
Instead of dreaming that the market will solve a problem created by necessary travel restrictions imposed by governments, Scott Morrison must extend an urgent lifeline to Virgin Australia to support the airline and its workforce through this crisis.
A private equity takeover of Virgin would likely see thousands of workers lose their jobs and provides no guarantee of ongoing access to affordable flights for the travelling public .
The Morrison Government has told Australians now is not the time to let ideology get in the way of supporting the Australian economy through this crisis.
The Government has already provided direct cash support for part of the aviation industry – with a $100 million package to address the cash flow crisis of a dozen regional airlines, including majority foreign-owned Regional Express.
It must now provide direct support for Virgin Australia through extending or guaranteeing lines of credit and taking an equity stake.
Such an intervention will give the Government the temporary ability to support the airline through this crisis before the industry bounces back – and it will – when the Government can recoup its investment.
Failure to support Virgin will have a devastating impact on tens of thousands of workers, on our tourism, freight and services sectors, and will slow our economic recovery.
Giving up on Australia’s aviation industry is not an option for Labor