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Virgin Australia pauses trading after plea for $1.4 billion government bailout

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has refused to commit the federal government to bailing out struggling airline Virgin Australia amid reports it’s seeking $1.4 billion amid the coronavirus.

Virgin Australia has told the ASX it will pause trading pending a further announcement amid reports it's seeking a $1.4 billion government bailout.

The announcement comes as Treasurer Josh Frydenberg refused to commit the Federal Government to bailing out the struggling airline.

Mr Frydenberg told Today any bailout would be aimed at the whole airline industry rather than one carrier.

Virgin Australia will need the $1.4 billion injection if the pandemic runs beyond six months, according to reports.

The treasurer said the government aimed to keep airlines afloat.

"We do support a viable, sustainable aviation sector. That is why we have already announced more than $700 million of support for that sector, including for Virgin and Qantas. And we do want to see major companies like that continue to operate.

"So it will be more of a bail out for the whole industry rather than just one airline."

Mr Frydenberg also says Australia has the "economic firepower" to weather the coronavirus impact after the government announced its multi-billion wage subsidy.

He says the JobKeeper payment will be vital in helping the economy rebound when the virus ends.

"I think it will be an economic lifeline for millions of Australians and we're already seeing sighs of relief across the nation as many employers and employees rebuild their connection which will be vitally important once we get to the other side of the coronavirus.

"We want the economy to bounce back stronger than ever and for employees an employers to be connected is critically important to that."

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By this morning, 111,000 businesses had registered for the JobKeeper payment.

While money will not flow into businesses and workers' pockets until from May 1, the Australian scheme goes further than others.

And Mr Frydenberg says it will help reduce queues outside Centrelink offices and reconnect laid off workers to their employers.

"To see those queues outside Centrelink was heart breaking. And to maintain that connection between the employer and the employee is vitally important.

"But I also want to say that our scheme is a lot broader than the United Kingdom's scheme. Over there it only applies to workers who are stood down. Our scheme applies to workers who are continuing to work. As well as that, the New Zealand scheme is more generous than New Zealand scheme an both the UK and New Zealand schemes were for three months. Ours is for six months."

Millions of Australians will starting receiving a $750 payment from today.

The treasurer said further economic stimulus packages will be necessary but the Australian economy could withstand the cost that will take years to pay off.

"We will be paying for years to come. That is the harsh reality of the spending that is required in this coronavirus crisis. But many other countries just don't have the financial fire power that Australia has to respond."

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Source: 9News

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