Politician Clive Palmer has agreed to pay out more than 500 former employees – three years after they lost their jobs when his nickel refinery collapsed.
While he took no responsibility for their dismissals, the businessman said on Monday he will fund outstanding entitlements that were not paid by liquidators when Queensland Nickel, based in Townsville, went bust in 2016.
The company owed debts of about $300 million to creditors, including local businesses and the Federal Government, at the time.
This week, Mr Palmer confirmed he has ‘$400 million in the bank ready to pay out’.
Politician Clive Palmer has agreed to pay out more than 500 former employees – three years after they lost their jobs when his nickel refinery collapsed
Taxpayers stumped up $70 million owed to Queensland Nickel workers; money that liquidators have been tasked with recouping.
Liquidators are also trying to claw back money owed to creditors.
The announcement comes as Mr Palmer stages a potential political comeback.
He is waiting to find out if his own United Australia Party will pick him as its candidate for the Townsville seat of Herbert, currently held by Labor incumbent Cathy O’Toole by 37 votes.
Mr Palmer is seeking to restart the refinery, at a time when the price of nickel is rising.
‘This is not about politics, this is an announcement about the industry in this town and jobs,’ he said.
While he took no responsibility for their dismissals, the businessman said he will fund outstanding entitlements that were not paid by liquidators when Queensland Nickel went bust
‘We think our investment should be welcomed, as an Australian, as Queensland’s richest person, and we employ hundreds of people in the state. ‘
The managing director of Mr Palmer’s QNI Resources company has issued a statement to call on the state government to approve plans to get the refinery back up and running.
Nui Harris urged Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s government to expedite port, rail and plant infrastructure proposals.
‘Now is the time for the Premier and her Government to do their part and get behind securing approvals so the refinery can be recommissioned and the good people of Townsville can have jobs,’ Mr Harris said.
Mr Harris said Townsville Mayor, Jenny Hill, also needed to get behind the project so jobs could be created immediately.