State Government says Clive Palmer should pay debt to port
State Government says Clive Palmer should pay debt to port

Palmer threatens to sue State Government

CLIVE Palmer is again threatening to sue the State Government over a lack of access for his businesses to the Port of Townsville but the Government is calling on the Senate candidate to pay his debts.

Mr Palmer has been ­attempting to negotiate terms for his companies to access the port, with the stated aim of ­reopening the Yabulu nickel refinery that was shut in 2016.

The refinery previously ­imported nickel ore and ­exported nickel products through the port.

Mr Palmer had initiated legal action against the ­Government last year over the issue before calling it off when it appeared he was making headway.

In January this year, Mr Palmer confirmed he had ­received draft contracts and said negotiations were ­"encouraging". But yesterday he issued a statement saying he would be pursuing legal action against the Government for refusing to facilitate access.

"The Townsville Port Authority has ignored continuous correspondence in relation to restoring QNI's access to Port of Townsville Berth 2 so we can create immediate employment and large-scale ongoing exports from North Queensland,'' Mr Palmer said.

"The Labor Government is using politics to deny in the order of 3000 jobs directly and indirectly."

Transport Minister Mark Bailey told media in Brisbane Mr Palmer owed the Port of Townsville more than $1 ­million for port fees.

"So I've got a message for Clive Palmer: pay your debts," Mr Bailey said.

Mr Bailey said Mr Palmer was spending $50 million on the most expensive political campaign in Australian history but still had not paid his debt to the Port of Townsville.

"Clive Palmer ought to pay his debts like any other ­business person in Queensland," Mr Bailey said.

A port official said the port had been having positive ­discussions with Mr Palmer's Queensland Nickel Sales about recommencing nickel ore imports for some time and that discussions were also in progress with Glencore.

"Berth 2 at the port, which (Queensland Nickel Sales) is seeking to access, is leased by Glencore," the spokeswoman said. "(Queensland Nickel) previously accessed Berth 2 for its nickel ore imports under a commercial contract with Glencore. QNS is in discussions with Glencore in this ­regard."