THE NEWS WRAP: Victorian Premier puts the case for more infrastructure, after Toyota announcement

Victorian Premier Denis Napthine met with Prime Minister Tony Abbott in Canberra asking for federal assistance in funding major infrastructure projects, following news Toyota would stop making cars in Australia.

 

“We believe they will provide opportunities for job creation but also long-term opportunities improving transport productivity and efficiency,” Napthine said.

 

“I can give the auto workers these words which I will think give them some hope for the future, that we are a strong economy in Victoria, AAA rated.”

 

Branson says Qantas is in “deep sh-t”

 

Virgin Australia founder Sir Richard Branson has stuck the boot into Qantas, claiming the airline was in “deep sh-t” as a result of its “line in the sand” strategy of maintaining 65% of the Australian domestic air travel market at any cost.

 

“Alan Joyce is in deep sh-t because he drew a line in the sand.”

 

“Now [Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce is] appealing to the government to give him money and holding his hat out like a begging bowl to the government,” Branson told Arabian Business magazine.

 

“It would be incredulous if the government can hand over money to him [Joyce] and they don’t hand over money to Virgin Australia.

 

“Every company in Australia will come begging to the government if the government allowed that to happen.

 

A Qantas spokesperson hit back at Branson’s comments, telling Fairfax the airline was not about to change its strategy.

 

“As we’ve said many times, Qantas is not asking the government for money. This is in contrast to Virgin, which has been cap in hand to the three foreign-government owned airlines to fund their loss-making strategy. What we’re asking the government for is a level playing field in the domestic aviation market.”

 

Federal government hires spin doctors for Medibank privatisation

 

The Abbott government has reportedly hired a communications company to prepare a communications strategy for the $4 billion privatisation of Medibank Private.

 

According to reports, Newgate Communications is being paid $2000 a day to devise a communications strategy for the sale. The contract, worth $211,000 over five months, runs until June 30.

 

“$2000 a day to spin to Australians why assets should be privatised is simply the most extraordinary government waste,” shadow health spokeswoman Catherine King told Fairfax.

 

“[The government] will pay $2000 a day for a spin doctor, but they won’t support Toyota jobs.”

 

Overnight

 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up to 5267.3. The Aussie dollar is up to US90.4 cents.

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