22 January 2016: Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter has today raised his concerns over the appointment of FTI Consulting as the administrators of Queensland Nickel with the Federal Treasurer’s office, in light of their disastrous appointment to another failed North Queensland venture, Kagara Mine.
Kagara Mine at Mt Garnet went into voluntary administration in April 2012 owing an estimated $100 million to North Queensland employees, contractors and businesses. The impact on local contractors and workers has been wide-spread and devastating.
“We have demanded that the Treasurer’s Office make ASIC once again look into FTI’s administration of Kagara Mine – particularly in light of the worst news I’ve heard in the last month – that FTI have been put in as the administrator for Queensland Nickel,” Mr Katter said.
“If their handling of Kagara is any indication then it will not be good news for the Townsville workers.
“The latest development (in Kagara) is that workers were advised they would be paid divided payments in mid-January, but now they’ve been advised they’ve been postponed for another two months.
“Kagara had $42 million come through in November of which $17 million was to go to employees in January, which has not occurred.
“The reason given by FTI is that tax returns have not been filed, well what have they been paid millions of dollars to do if they can’t even meet their responsibilities to lodge tax returns?
“This is just another blow to the Kagara workers and a very worrying sign for the Queensland Nickel workers,” Mr Katter said.
Mr Katter has spoken with the Federal Treasurer’s office and raised both the conduct of FTI Consulting and the inadequacy of ASIC as a monitoring body, particularly in the Kagara matter.
“ASIC’s performance in this, their contribution to a good outcome, has been absolutely nil. Of all the government agencies in Australia, they would easily be the worst.
“In Kagara minority shareholders were able to get hold of assets stripped of the liability. If you as the regulator can’t see the problem there, then not only are you flagrantly failing in your duty of care, but you’re also not real bright either.
“On the face of it huge losses have occurred, losses that quite frankly would not have occurred if the bank and ASIC had been doing their jobs,” Mr Katter said.