Virgin Australia falls on Scott Morrison’s watch – Labor

Anthony Albanese, Leader of the Australian Labor Party
Catherine King, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development

Virgin Australia entering voluntary administration is devastating for its 16,000 employees and contractors, our tourism industry and regional economies.

This is a failure of leadership from Scott Morrison whose complacent approach to aviation did nothing to support the airline through this crisis.

Our aviation, tourism and freight industries were brought to their knees by necessary travel restrictions imposed by governments to limit the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak.

For weeks, Labor and unions called for Scott Morrison to extend a lifeline to Virgin Australia through extending or guaranteeing a line of credit and taking an equity stake.

The Government refused to support Virgin despite the fact they signed off on $100 million in cash grants exclusively for regional airlines, including the majority foreign-owned Regional Express.

Labor repeatedly urged the Government to also be open to supporting large aviation companies, like Virgin.

The current structure of our aviation industry with two major airlines supports hundreds of thousands of jobs, promotes competition and ensures services regularly reach all Australians.

Now that he has let the airline fall into administration, Scott Morrison must outline a plan to take an equity stake in Virgin and ensure we continue to have two major airlines in this country.

Allowing private equity investors to pick over Virgin will see thousands of workers lose their jobs and provides no guarantee of ongoing access to affordable flights for the travelling public.

Sixteen thousand workers cannot afford further inaction from Scott Morrison.

Our regional tourism economies from Cairns to Broome to Launceston cannot afford further inaction from Scott Morrison.

Giving up on Australia’s aviation industry is not an option for Labor.

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