PALMER'S QUEENSLAND NICKEL SACKS 237 WORKERS
Written on the 15 January 2016
QUEENSLAND Nickel will let go of 237 workers, declaring that a lack of support from the Queensland Government indicates the State has put 'politics above people'.
Following announcements the Chinese Government was injecting 30 billion yuan, or AUD $6.6 billion, into its metals industry and the Canadian Government was waiving electricity charges for its metals industry, Queensland Nickel has been forced to take action and restructure its operations.
The Western Australian Government has already foreshadowed assistance to BHP following industry speculation that its nickel losses would be in the order of $400 million this year.
Queensland Nickel managing director Clive Mensink says the Queensland Government has turned its back on the company.
"The Queensland Government has made it clear despite the nickel price being the lowest in 15 years it has no interest in assisting Queensland Nickel in providing continued employment for over 800 families in Townsville,'' says Mensink.
"This stands in contrast to the $40 million-a-year cheque the Queensland Treasury writes each year to a multinational group for their Gladstone operations.
"Because of the current nickel price and because of the failure of our own government to offer any support for our company's continued operations in Townsville, today Queensland Nickel has been forced to make 237 workers redundant.
"With the NSW Government supporting BlueScope and action by the Chinese and Canadian Governments, there was no way Queensland Nickel could continue to employ so many people without any support from the Queensland Government.
"We only requested a $30 million guarantee to support our company's borrowings backed by our large asset base. Queensland Nickel did not seek any money from the Government. The Treasurer should not put politics above people and their livelihoods."
Mensink says it was a 'sad state of affairs' that only industry in the south east corner of Queensland received the attention of the Government.
He says North Queenslanders had every right to feel disappointed the Government had turned its back on them, adding that the Premier and all Labor State Members from the Townsville region 'have repeatedly refused to even meet with me to discuss this matter'.
"Since BHP announced the closure of Queensland Nickel six years ago we fought hard to keep Townsville going,'' says Mensink.
"Clive Palmer only supported Queensland Nickel and Townsville because of the request of former Labor Premier Anna Bligh. It is ironic that her Labor successor's lack of compassion and caring for Townsville families has directly cost 237 jobs in Townsville.
Mensink says the focus now is preserving the 2000 additional jobs that Queensland Nickel provides in Townsville.
"I will be taking steps in the next few days to do whatever it takes to continue Queensland Nickel's contribution to the Townsville community," he says.