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Palmer not ‘telling the truth’ over Qld Nickel: Pitt

Federal Member for Fairfax Clive Palmer has been accused of telling the Queensland Government and the public different stories as the Queensland Nickel refinery faced closure.
Federal Member for Fairfax Clive Palmer has been accused of telling the Queensland Government and the public different stories as the Queensland Nickel refinery faced closure. Kristy Muir

THE Queensland Treasurer has accused Clive Palmer of lying over the in-turmoil Townsville nickel refinery.

Mr Palmer's Yabulu refinery was placed into administration earlier this year but Mr Palmer set up a new company, Queensland Nickel Sales, to run the refinery.

Townsville MP Curtis Pitt said Mr Palmer, the Federal Fairfax MP, had told the public and the media one thing and was telling the government the opposite.

"In late September, Clive Palmer approached the Government and asked us for $25 million," Mr Pitt said in Parliament yesterday (Tuesday).

"He then denied it to the media, stating 'As long as I am the owner of Queensland Nickel I will not allow the company to borrow funds from the Queensland Government'.

"But in November Clive Palmer came back to Government, requesting money. First it was $25 million, then $35 million, then $40 million."

Mr Palmer told media on Monday the government had not given QNS a Major Hazard Facility Licence.

But Mr Pitt said Queensland Nickel director Clive Mensink who is Mr Palmer's nephew, had emailed the government saying they are not seeking a licence transfer "at this time".

"Clive Palmer has been accused of many things, including operating as a shadow director of Queensland Nickel," Mr Pitt said.

"But one thing he's never been accused of is telling the truth."

Mr Palmer responded on Twitter to accuse Mr Pitt of lying.

"(Mr Pitt is) too scared to attack me outside Parliament where he has privilege. His comments about me nothing more than lies," he said.

Mr Palmer on Monday called on the State Government to provide QNS with approvals and be "supportive of refinery operations continuing".

He said he was committed to reopening the refinery and rehiring workers but needed the government to support him.

But Mr Pitt said Mr Palmer had "stripped" millions from Queensland Nickel before asking the government for help.

"We found that the biggest thing holding Queensland Nickel back was Clive Palmer," he said.

"His decision to strip millions of dollars out of the business and lend it to himself.

"His decision to gift more than $15 million to the Palmer United Party.

"His decision to pay himself a shareholder dividend of $28 million just months before asking for $35 million from Queensland taxpayers.

"The government could not have in good conscience used taxpayers' money to provide a loan or bank guarantee to Queensland Nickel." - ARM NEWSDESK

Topics:  clive palmer curtis pitt editors picks parliament queensland queensland nickel


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