Should governments’ and taxpayers care about Clive Palmer’s woes? 322



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Clive Palmer has heavily criticised the Queensland state government on Sunday for refusing to support his Nickel Refinery in Yabulu in North Queensland with a taxpayer-funded loan.  But many taxpayers might be wondering why he would be asking in the first place?  What right has a billionaire got to draw on state funds to fix his own business problems?

Mr Palmer was sent a letter by Curtis Pitt, Queensland Treasurer ruling out any assistance for the Yabulu refinery on Friday night according to media reports and Palmer is furious.  Palmer says their rejection shows “little commitment to the people of the state”

Mr Pitt said to The Australia that it would be irresponsible for the government to bail out the company when Palmer could do it himself.

Mr Palmer issued a statement to the media that accused Curtis Pitt of having “breached long-held conventions to keep business discussions confidential’’.

He said that by releasing his letter to Mr Mensink, Mr Pitt “has sent a message to any party wanting to invest in Queensland that he can’t be trusted and has little regard for the workers of north Queensland’’.

Mr Palmer’s rant went on: “He seems to think it is okay to spend $40 million of taxpayers’ money to multinational Rio Tinto in respect of the Boyne Smelter at Gladstone, but offer no support to the residents of Townsville.


Curtis Pitt has called on Palmer to secure the operation of the refinery, which employs nearly 800 people just north of Townsville.

Clive Palmer has been vocal in the media all week, calling for the government to act as a guarantor for his loan, claiming Queensland Nickel was facing temporary cash-flow problems.

“Queensland Nickel has over $1.95bn of net assets and no debt,” Palmer said in a media statement.

“This valuation shows the treasurer that there is no asset problem and these assets would secure any guarantee by the Queensland government.”


For many other than those in the Townsville region who know the ripple effects in their local area of the refinery facing trouble, his complaints fall on deaf ears knowing the man has millions if not billions of his own dollars to use if he so wanted to to rescue his company.

Do you think it is right that Palmer be asking the State Government to support his business in times of trouble or should he foot the bill?


Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. DefiniItely NOT, while I feel sorry for the workers at is Nickel Refinery, Clive can afford to fund himself, he was recently offered $32 million for Coolum Resort and rejected it, he only needs $35 million to bail himself out of trouble and save these people their jobs, why should taxpayers help him when he is more than capable of helping himself and his workers ?

    9 REPLY
    • Why the hell should we bail him out, he can afford to bail himself out he certainly doesn’t give s hoot about his poor employees so look after yourself Clive, it’s a bloody cheek to ask us to help him out NO NO NO

    • The workers had a close shave with their employment some time ago. Along came Clive Palmer with his money and his ideas and bailed out that failing company. Qld govt were all smiles for him then. Why are you people so happy to see your millions in bribes go overseas to foreign companies to keep jobs in Australia but somehow it is terrible that an Australian company should ask for backing to keep open during a world wide downturn. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. LNP have been very selective in who gets bribe money. Car industry employing all those nasty unionists – NO. Foreign multinationals including Rio Tinto YES. Prop up an Australian company through a world wide downtown NO. Take advice from the BHP Billiton backed “Grattan Institute” YES. . Stop paying all the money to keep jobs here – or accept that Australian owned companies are entitled to the help that foreign companies get. Your taxes propped up Bonds and what did they do with that money? Sent all their work overseas. My Bonds Cottontails have never been the same since. This is a subject close to my arse.

    • I wouldn’t mind the government helping him out IF he opened his books to reveal what he has… Of course he won’t because he has more going on in his company than he wants us to know… He is a billionaire.. If people like myself got into trouble we would have to sell our assets .. So should he

    • Jan Alderton Did Rio Tinto have to “open their books” or sell their assets to receive bribe money to keep jobs in Australia? I hardly think so. So why should an Australian company be restricted while foreign companies are handed money depending on the biased leanings of the government of the time.

    • Leone it doesn’t matter what we think, the Queesland Government has gone through his books, that are satisified he can sell assetts and not even need a loan. These are some things he could sell and save his own workers , one (barely used) dinosaur theme park, five corporate jets, a set of plans for a replica of the Titanic, an abandoned former luxury resort on prime Queensland acreage, a handful of golf courses and numerous residential properties. Clive also boasted in 2010 that refinery gave him 250 million a year in beer money.. judging by the size of him he took that litterally and drank the money

    • Leone and David, I love both of these comments, I had made my mind made up on this issue. Now I am not so sure, thanks guys, lo lol

    • David James – and where is the level playing field? What Rio Tinto assets did they have to sell to receive the same thing. Did any government examine their books? This is pure spite favouring foreigners over Australian businesses. Our taxes are not spent wisely – they are spent or refused on a whim. Why shouldn’t Clive be treated with the same benefits as wealthy foreign companies? Pure Spite from the government and pure spite from the majority of commentators here.

  2. Let him use some of his other assets like the rest of us have to do. Or sell it to someone who can get it running profitably again.

  3. we footed the bill for john howards brother and his business, we gave bonds, millions so they could upgrade and they did, then closed down and moved off shore, to name a few, l suppose we really do not need these rural jobs, but if we did, then, l would be wanting a good return on my money, but l would have to weigh it all up, as against, is it a loan, or a bail-out like we usually do, otherwise it another rural workplace gone, like the 2000 jobs going down the road at collinsville

    3 REPLY
    • I do hope you have made a mistake in saying “I suppose we really do not need these rural jobs ” Jen Eaton ” …..

    • Geneve Hague, we either support him and save the jobs or we do not support him and lose the jobs, l live in the area and my partner is on tender hooks as to who’s job goes next, we are too old for this crap, but because of previous relationships on both our sides we desperately need the work, you know how it is cruising through life, then hubby wants a younger model, blah, blah, blah partner in same position, we started out on our own road 10 years ago, and we NEED his job, so yes it may have been tongue in cheek, but it is what the bottom line is, support him keep jobs, not support him lose more jobs in rural areas

    • I hope it works out well for you Jen but Palmer has the funds to bail himself out, he gave those Nickel refinery workers, holidays and cars only a few years ago as Christmas gifts, he has spent like a drunken sailor and now wants Taxpayers to bail him out?

      1 REPLY
      • Those holidays were years ago. Most of the workforce at the Refinery now weren’t even there back then.
        Regardless of what you think of Palmer – the impact closing the Refinery would have on Townsville and north Queensland is phenomenal. It isn’t just the 800 workers & their families that would lose out – but the approx 3000 other people who would lost work (according to reports). The cost to the goverment of welfare for all those people is a large figure as well…

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