Queensland Nickel: Bob Katter signals workers may not see federal government payments for a long time.
13 April 2016: Following the Queensland Nickel (QNI) workers’ meeting on Monday and the administrators’ recommendation of liquidation yesterday, KAP Leader and Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter has signaled workers may not see government payouts for a long time.
“People be cautioned and keep their powder dry here because I’ve been informed that many of the hundreds of employees from the Kagara closure still have not gotten their Fair Entitlements Guarantee (FEG) payments, years down the track, and that has been in spite of indirect pressures from Treasurer Swan and Treasurer Hockey and of course, continuous pressure and public attacks by myself.”
Mr Katter said there is no way any responsible person representing any of the workforce of the greater Townsville region should be doing anything else but, “straining every nerve and sinew into resurrecting those jobs”.
“I suspect that there’re a few responsible people in the government. But they sure aren’t under any pressure from the political representatives of the Townsville region. It’s easier to throw rocks at Clive Palmer than to do something for 2000 families that have no income now.”
“I’m yet to see a loan guarantee proposal from a single one of the sitting members. And quite frankly, they should all be ashamed of themselves.
“The State members have been told the Federal government is going to give nothing. Well the Federal Government is going to give nothing until they realise that they’re going to lose a whole stack of seats.
Radio host Alan Jones chairs Townsville Nickel meeting arranged by Bob Katter to facilitate a worker’s buyback from Clive Palmer. Empty designated seats at front show the lack of concern from local State and Federal politicians
Mr Katter highlights the 1980’s government loan guarantee to Queensland Nickel: “The much maligned Bjelke Peterson Government could provide over $170 million in loan guarantees to Queensland Nickel in 1985 on a budget of around $5000 million. There should be no question that today’s government with a $500,000 million budget should be able to guarantee a $100 million loan. Bjelke Peterson’s government didn’t even hesitate.”
Mr Katter is sure that nickel prices will rise again.
“This is a cyclical market. Nickel prices will go back up and the plant will be profitable again. I’m certain about that. In three or four years time it will make money again. It’s just a matter of getting through those years.”
Mr Katter believes Clive Palmer is a distraction.
“Clive Palmer has been a red herring behind which the governments have been hiding,” said Mr Katter.
“My party is moving ‘move it or lose it’ legislation to leaver Clive out. Not because of any antipathy, but because the governments will not, and arguably should not, provide money where individuals will benefit from such loan guarantees.”