Businessman and political hopeful, Clive Palmer, has announced plans to pay back “millions of dollars” owed to hundreds of workers who lost their jobs when his Queensland nickel refinery went bust more than three years ago.
Fronting the media in Townsville on Monday morning, Mr Palmer said he wanted to reopen the refinery immediately.
“Townsville’s certainly been doing it tough and difficult since the floods and we want to look forward and not backwards,” he said.
“For that reason, I’ve decided today that we will pay out all outstanding amounts in workers’ entitlements that was owed by Queensland Nickel.”
When the company collapsed in 2016, it was left owing debts of about $300 million to creditors, including local businesses and the federal government, which covered entitlements for the 800 people who lost their jobs.
Mr Palmer distanced himself from the sackings, instead taking aim at the administrators who were overseeing operations at the time.
“This is despite the fact that we never sacked anybody and the administrators moved in to sack the workforce and to close the refinery operations down at a time when we were ready to pay all the workforce and to transfer them and to operate the refinery,” he said.
He said his company had about “$400 million in the bank” ready to pay-out.
Asked why people should trust him, Mr Palmer responded, “it’s not for them to trust me, I own the refinery and it’s my money — it’s a question for me to trust them”.
“We want to move forward as soon as we can for a large-scale industrial operation to make sure this city operates.
“We’re not asking for anything or any assistance.”