Clive Palmer's man hits back over job and Nickel losses
THE boss of Clive Palmer's Queensland nickel refinery has blasted The Australian newspaper for its 'callous' attacks on the billionaire which highlighted job losses at his Coolum resort and losses at the refinery.
Queensland Nickel managing director (operations) Ian Ferguson, said the front page article on Saturday, was 'totally unacceptable'.
The story highlighted Mr Palmer's Nickel company performances and the loss of hundreds of jobs at his Coolum resort.
It quoted Coolum business leaders as having growing despair over the performance and occupancy levels of the resort since Mr Palmer's company purchased it.
The story revealed nothing really new, with complaints about job losses well documented by the Sunshine Coast Daily.
Mr Palmer, made headlines earlier this year when he attacked a local TV reporter who dared to question him on the issue.
Mr Palmer's PR people maintain the billionaire had saved many jobs at the resort which had been operating for years by the Hyatt at a loss.
But as business leaders pointed out, he promised resort workers their jobs would be safe when he first arrived. Since then, up to 750 people have lost their positions, many of them casual.
Occupancy levels are said to be two to three percent at times.
But Mr Ferguson said Mr Palmer had used his personal wealth to cover recent operating losses at Queensland Nickel as a result of the lower global nickel prices.
"These actions have protected the livelihoods of almost 1000 workers and their families and show Mr Palmer's level of commitment to the people of Townsville,'' Mr Ferguson said.
"He does not deserve to be ridiculed by The Australian.
"The Australian and its owners are not accountable to the standards they impose on others.
"Over recent years News Corp has dismissed hundreds of employees in Australia. In the last week alone, two senior executives at News' Queensland operations were dismissed.
"Unfortunately, you won't read about the significant stress placed on News Corp employees or the callous disregard by the management of the company for their welfare.
"The attack on Mr Palmer by The Australian for protecting jobs while ignoring a profit before people mentality in its own organisation represents a gross double standard.
"The reason The Australian continues to attack Clive Palmer is a result of News Corp promising Tony Abbott that he will be the next Prime Minister.
"This appalling attitude reflects what is wrong with Australian politics and the Australian media. It is the manipulation of the few against the rights of the many.
"It sadly shows the lengths that certain powerful individuals will take to stop the rights of the people to choose.
Mr Palmer has launched his own political party to contest the federal election on September 14.
Mr Ferguson has been named as a candidate for his party in the north Queensland seat of Dawson.
Mr Palmer's Coolum resort manager Bill Schoch is another candidate.