Queenslanders living in an economic backwater
19 January 2016: Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter has written to the Prime Minister today urging him to intervene in the situation concerning Queensland Nickel, owned by a Clive Palmer company and provide bridging finance to the company until the market recovers.
The company employs nearly 1,000 direct jobs and according to Mr Katter is now in grave jeopardy unless the Government intervenes.
Mr Katter said in his letter to the Prime Minister that the industry was going through the standard ‘boom and bust’ cycle.
“For the past fifteen years the price of nickel has averaged $25,000 per year, it is now $8,000 per year.
“China is suffering a normal ‘boom and bust’ cycle; minerals live with a ‘boom and bust cycle’.
“Nickel is used in the production of stainless steel and in turn these alloys are used in the production of many electronics, power tools, transport and emergency power supplies.
“Nickel is of immense commercial value. Its long term outlook is solid.
“World bank projections are for $20,000 per tonne within the next few years,” Mr Katter said.
Clive Palmer says the placing of Queensland Nickel into receivership has “nothing to do with me.”
Mr Katter said that in the 1980s the Queensland Government had no hesitation in providing a loan guarantee for $40 m (the equivalent of nearly $100 m now) to get Queensland Nickel running.
“The tax revenue from an operation bringing, we are informed $800 m per year, generates a tax revenue of at least $200 m.
“The loss of one of the bigger nickel refining plants in the world would be yet another blow to the North Queensland and Australian economy.
“Last year we saw the closure of Australia’s last motor vehicle plant and white goods plant.
“There is not the slightest doubt that the Australian people believe that they are, or will very soon be, living in an economic backwater.
“We urge immediate Government action to assist this situation, put in place strict guidelines, and provide bridging finance until the market recovers,” Mr Katter said.