Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour.
Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour.

MILLIONS LOST: Mayor says financial down turn not over

AS THE coronavirus pandemic cripples businesses, Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour says the council has lost millions in revenue this financial year.

The mayor told the Chronicle the largest impact had been the loss of all landing fees at the Hervey Bay Airport.

“The cost to the council’s budget has been significant through closing the Brolga and other facilities,” he said.

“But particularly the airport as the complete halt of flights coming into the airport has severely affected the council’s budget.”

Cr Seymour said he hoped it would not be long before flights recommenced to and from the Hervey Bay Airport.

“We want to see the Qantas flights back as soon as possible,” he said.

“Once the restrictions on interstate travel are relaxed we will be hoping the Virgin flights will continue.”

Cr Seymour said it would be disappointing if Virgin’s directs flights between Sydney and Hervey Bay were cancelled permanently.

“Our link to Sydney is essential, whether it is for professional services or tourists,” he said.

The mayor said if the direct flights to Sydney were not restarted by Virgin, the council would work on asking alternative airlines to take up the flight.

Treasurer Cameron Dick yesterday announced he had tasked the Queensland Investment Corporation to launch an ambitious bid to buy Virgin Australia on behalf of the state in what would be one of the most significant investments in its history.

About 19 bidders are circling the airline, which collapsed into administration last month with debts totalling almost $7 billion.

Cr Seymour said he expected the downturn to continue well into next financial year.

“We are talking about our budget for the next financial year and that takes into consideration the effects of the pandemic,” he said.