News of job losses at Queensland Nickel was extremely serious said local Townsville federal member, Herbert MP, Ewen Jones.
The managing director of Clive Palmers’s Yabulu facility Clive Mensink announced the redundancies of 237 positions from the facility, located about 40kms north of Townsville, this morning.
That’s around a third of job positions.
Mr Palmer repeatedly made calls for help from around October last year citing the fall in metals prices making current operations untenable. Both the state government and the opposition LNP party rejected appeals to underwrite a bailout.
He had already been in touch with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Treasurer Scott Morrison to update them on today’s developments, Mr Jones said.
“What is most important at this time is that all steps are taken to protect workers who have lost their jobs and ensure all of their entitlements are paid in full by the company,” he said.
“We have known for some time that QNI has been experiencing difficulties.
“The historically low price of steel has had a major impact on the price of nickel.”
Townsville had experienced troubled times before and resident will not underestimate the scale of this challenge, Mr Jones said.
“But we are a strong city and we will deal with this now.” he said.
“Townsville and its diversified economy are an essential part of any plan to develop the North of Australia.”
“I am deeply concerned about the futures of the individual employees and I believe it would be a great show of faith if Clive Palmer immediately repaid the $15 million QNI donated to his political party.”
“This would ensure the plant’s viability and the security of the remaining jobs at least for the meantime.”