Palmer threatens bad PR campaign against government
MINING magnate Clive Palmer has threatened to launch a "public relations campaign" against the State Government and the Port of Townsville if they don't give him back Queensland Nickel's berth.
But the claims have been called out as "shenanigans" by the Transport Minister, as the Port of Townsville confirms it is ready to allow Queensland Nickel back in as long as it agrees to a safety net.
Mr Palmer has repeatedly criticised the Port of Townsville for allegedly holding back the reopening of Queensland Nickel's refinery in Yabulu, which he claims could be running in 2020 thanks to the "tens of millions" he has put forward.
"The Townsville Port Authority continues to refuse our company the same terms and conditions which need to be offered to make the operation sustainable in the future,'' Mr Palmer said.
He is seeking the terms and conditions of the new lease to be identical to the one Queensland Nickel held for 20 years.
The Yabulu refinery went into receivership in 2016 and nearly 800 people lost their jobs.
A spokeswoman for the Port of Townsville said Queensland Nickel had been sent contracts for port lease more than a year ago on "essentially same terms" as the previous agreement, plus a few guarantees.
"Despite repeated efforts QN has still not signed the agreements," she said.
"We have made it clear that we are happy to enter into new agreements to see nickel ore imports through the port.
"We simply require QN to provide evidence that it has the finance and approvals to re-open the refinery, and appropriate guarantees to ensure that the berth would remain in continuous use."
The Townsville Bulletin previously reported the Port had dropped legal proceedings against Mr Palmer's companies on September 24, 2018, to "enable the Palmer parties to resolve new contract arrangements at the port."
Transport Minister Mark Bailey said everybody was "over Clive Palmer's shenanigans".
"Given Clive Palmer's appalling record, of course (the Port) has to be careful and prudent about this matter, nonetheless they are seeking an agreement but all we get from Clive Palmer is his usual theatrics."
Mr Palmer took aim at the State Government for not "exercising its authority" over the port and warned a "public relations campaign" would start to highlight the "appalling acts of self-interested politicians".
"He can blame other people all he likes, but this is a commercial deal that is on offer, and instead of complaining in the media he needs to knuckle down and come to a commercial agreement," Mr Bailey said.
Mr Palmer also said the heritage-listed building on Flinders St, which he purchased in October, would become his North Queensland head office