Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill
Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill

'No more shocks, no more surprises Clive' - Townsville Mayor

A SHOCKED Townsville Mayor has told the media that she expects more surprises from the North Queensland nickel refinery after today's voluntary administration announcement.

Jenny Hill has called on Queensland Nickel owner Clive Palmer for no more shocks and no more surprises.

"I am surprised the voluntary administrators have been called but I think that can lead to a better outcome," she said.

"The government will see the report and we'll have a clear indication of the activities at QNI and what the situation is regarding the books.

"Everyone has been asking for the management of QNI to be open and transparent in terms of the operation, the voluntary administrator will need to make all transactions apparent and we can get a better indication of what the situation is.

"I don't think anyone saw this coming on Friday and the 237 employees who have lost their jobs, they still have not had any official notice from the company in terms of what their redundancy payments are. I believe the company will be meeting with their employees either Wednesday or Thursday to advise them of what their packages will be.

"And we need to understand who's been made redundant and what skills they have in order for the government to look at any employment packages.

"To Clive Palmer I say - no more shocks, no more surprises, keep your word, keep the plant open.

Queensland Nickel owner and Federal Member for Fairfax Clive Palmer
Queensland Nickel owner and Federal Member for Fairfax Clive Palmer Warren Lynam

"The activities at the plant are of concern to this community - the fact of any electoral donation - now the administrators have been called in, that should stop. And any moneys owed - that may be able to be recover them back into the plant. But first we need the administrators to go through and to open their books and to show not just the government but the community what's been going on and what is truly owed to that company.

"It is in voluntary administration, but then we'll understand who the creditors are, where the money's gone and how we can keep that plant open.

"My heart goes out to every employee who's lost their job and to the current employees that are still out there - everyone's on tenterhooks and it's not just them, it's for other members of the community.

"This shouldn't be about playing political leverage; it shouldn't be about personal gain, at the moment this needs to be about keeping the doors open, keeping those people employed.

"There's no doubt money has been shifted out of the company - had that money stayed, we may not have been in that situation - but we are where we are now and we need to move forward and work with everyone involved to keep the doors to that plant open.

"Having been involved in this process for quite a while now, I expect more surprises…I don't know what but I have no doubt there will be more surprises in store."


11.45am: A UNION spokesman says the union expected Queensland Nickel to shut its doors permanently last week when they received word of Friday's meeting that left 237 workers without a job.

CFMEU District vice-president Steve Price told The Bulletin said today's announcement has the potential for leaving another 500 plus employees without work.

"Our biggest concern now is  if whoever is administration appointed are able to get the business back in the position where they can trade their way out," Mr Price said.

"Queensland Nickel, while it's not apart of the coal mining industry, it is part of the Queensland economy.

"It has, until recently, provided secure jobs."

Mr Price said the union had a number of concerns about Queensland Nickel news in the past few weeks, including whether or not those in charge of the company had been putting 'their heart and soul' into managing the company, or 'just let it fluff along'.

He said these concerns were sparked after news that the company had provided Federal Member for Fairfax Clive Palmer's Palmer United Party with a $300,000 donation before it sacked 237 workers.

Mr Price said another concern was for the workers who were made redundant and the impact on the Townsville community.

"Some of these people have been extremely long term employees at that company," he said.

"They now have to go find employment in what is an already depressed employment market.

"It's going to be a very difficult time in front of them."

Meanwhile, Mr Price said those that still have their jobs would be under considerable angst and pressure.

"It would be a very stressful time for those people at the moment," he said.


10.45AM: FEDERAL Member for Townsville Ewen Jones sees the voluntary administration of Queensland Nickel as at least one positive for workers - clarity over their futures.

Federal member for Herbert, Ewen Jones.
Federal member for Herbert, Ewen Jones. Chris Ison

Mr Jones has issued a statement following the news this morning about the North Queensland mining and resource company linked to Federal Member for Fairfax Clive Palmer.

"News of Administrators being appointed at Queensland Nickel confirms the extent of affairs within the company," Mr Jones said.

"At least now with Administrators being appointed, they will be able to provide some clarity to the workforce and wider community in due course of what the company's options are going forward.

"I want to assure the workers, their families and the wider Townsville community every avenue will be explored by our government to seek a future for this company," Mr Jones said.

"I believe that we can find a home for this business as part of the supply chain in the manufacturing of steel.

"But let's not forget we still have a community reeling after the loss of 237 jobs at the refinery on Friday.

"I once again urge the company to ensure all steps are taken to protect those workers who have lost their jobs and make sure all of their entitlements are paid in full."

8.35am: CLIVE Palmer's mining and resource company Queensland Nickel has gone into voluntary administration.

The Directors of Queensland Nickel Pty Ltd have today appointed John Park, Stefan Dopking, Kelly-Anne Trenfield and Quentin Olde of FTI Consulting as Voluntary Administrators, effective immediately.

The company has made headlines in the past few months after Clive Palmer approached the Queensland Government for financial assistance.

Only last week, the company announced it would be making 237 workers at the Townsville refinery redundant. Read the full story here: Clive Palmer's Queensland Nickel to shed 237 jobs

Mr Palmer came under scrutiny for the job losses after it was revealed Queensland Nickel donated $300,000 to the Palmer United Party: QLD Nickel donated nearly $300k to PUP before sacking staff

Queensland Nickel Managing Director, Clive Mensink, said he believed QNI has the ability to continue its operations and trade out of administration.

"It is my understanding that the administrators will be in contact with all stakeholders and the operations of QNI will continue on as usual. From our perspective it is business as usual and employees of QNI will continue productivity at this difficult time," he said.

"QNI plays an important role in North Queensland's economy and I believe that will remain the case in the future once restructuring is completed in this volatile commodity environment."

The Directors of Queensland Nickel have advised that the appointment of the Administrators from FTI Consulting was made after full consideration of Queensland Nickel's obligations and its duties to ensure it acts in the best interests of employees, creditors and other stakeholders.

The Administrators will conduct an independent assessment of the financial position and ongoing viability of Queensland Nickel. The Administrators intend to work with Queensland Nickel management and staff in continuing to trade the business while the review takes place.

John Park, Leader Australia, Corporate Finance & Restructuring, FTI Consulting, said the Administrators will seek to administer the affairs of the Company in a way that maximises the chances of its business continuing:

"We will undertake an urgent assessment of the financial position and ongoing viability of the Company and its business operations.

"No significant changes to the Company's trading operations are anticipated in the immediate term. As Administrators, we will act independently at all times, although we will work with Queensland Nickel management and staff in continuing to operate the business," he said.

The Administrators will provide a high level update at a creditors meeting expected late January 2016.

LIST: Where you can go to an Anzac Day service this year

Premium Content LIST: Where you can go to an Anzac Day service this year

Not every town on the Northern Rivers will have a service this year

'Rare as hen's teeth': Top Byron Bay site up for sale

Premium Content 'Rare as hen's teeth': Top Byron Bay site up for sale

The agent has touted ‘solid returns’ from property’s ‘key tenant’

‘NSW only’: Should QLD drivers be banned from our beach?

Premium Content ‘NSW only’: Should QLD drivers be banned from our beach?

Residents suggest extreme alternatives to South Ballina's 4WD ban