Clive Palmer clashes with TV reporter on resort job losses

CLIVE Palmer has clashed with journalists on the Sunshine Coast after being asked about job losses and staff morale at his Coolum resort.

"I don't know who is paying you... it must be someone up the road,'' the man who wants to be Australia's next Prime Minister told a young female journalist.

"This is my private business and it is my private money.

"I am not responsible for anyone,'' he said.

There have been hundreds of job losses at the resort, which used to be run by the Hyatt group.

"I have made $6 billion. I don't know how much you have made in your life,' Mr Palmer said during the exchange.

When further pressed about staff morale issues, Mr Palmer replied: "I don't see anyone upset about working here. They all love it here.''

Mr Palmer said under the former management the resort, which had about 1000 staff, would have been shut down because it was simply not profitable.

"We had to make the decision 'will we go in there and save some jobs and that's what we have done,'' the candidate for Fairfax said.

More than 250 staff now work at the resort.

Mr Palmer said the resort was being turned around after a deliberate campaign to increase room rates from about $120 a night to $420 a night and go after more high end clientele.

"We have increased the revenue per room by 400%,'' Mr Palmer said.

"We are not a charity, my dear. I want to make money,'' he told the WIN TV reporter.

Mr Palmer's spokesman pointed out the resort had $5 million worth of forward conference bookings.

During the press conference, a female fan of Mr Palmer jumped in front of the TV cameras, declaring her support for him.

She said Australia should be supporting someone who was all about 'children and dinosaurs'.

Mr Palmer declared babies rocked and claimed Treasurer Wayne Swan has scrapped the baby bonus just to spite him after he had earlier announced his wife was pregnant.

Given his wealth, Mr Palmer is unlikely to qualify for the bonus but joked he would not be pushing for his wife to have the baby before the Baby Bonus was phased out, saying that would not be good for his child.

Speaking earlier at a luncheon at the resort, the leader of the Palmer United Party said he was passionate about creating Australian jobs.

He said Australians should not be afraid to compete at an international level, including against countries like Japan, which had higher wages.

"We are not a charity, my dear. I want to make money.''

Mr Palmer said there was no reason why high order manufacturing plants could be set up to turn raw materials now being sent overseas to much more valuable items.

When asked why he was building his Titanic ship in China, he said there were 100 Australians working on the project.

He said the project could not be built in Australia because there were no longer shipping yards here because the government closed them all down.

Mr Palmer vowed to slash taxes and encourage business to get the economy moving again.

He said there was far too much focus on the deficit and the Australian government need to pump in billions into nation-building infrastructure projects, including highways, rail, ports and tourism.

Mr Palmer employs about 3000 people in Australia and his firm is building four, 54,000 tonne cargo ships.

>> Related: Clive Palmer in pledge to cut taxes for workers 


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