Australia Markets closed

Palmer not worried about entitlements debt

 

Clive Palmer says he's not worried about a special purpose liquidator pursuing him for almost $70 million in taxpayer funds that will flow to his sacked nickel workers.

The Federal Court has approved a Commonwealth request to appoint top insolvency practitioner Stephen Parbery, who'll go after assets held by the embattled federal MP and his companies.

Mr Palmer's Queensland Nickel enterprise went into liquidation last month, owing hundreds of millions of dollars.

The government has activated its entitlements guarantee scheme to ensure almost 800 workers who lost their jobs at the company's Townsville nickel refinery get most of the $74 million they are owed.

But it has vowed to do everything in its power to ensure Mr Palmer - not taxpayers - ultimately funds the estimated $68 million to be paid out under the scheme.

Mr Parbery will work in parallel with Queensland Nickel's administrators and now liquidators, FTI Consulting, and will specifically look at ways to recoup taxpayers' money.

Mr Palmer has announced plans to sue FTI for $1.2 billion, accusing the firm, and specifically administrator John Park, of aiding and abetting a breach of trust, and causing serious breaches of the Queensland Nickel Joint Venture Agreement.

The outgoing Fairfax MP welcomed Wednesday's court's decision to allow a special purpose administrator, and says he's not worried about being held personally liable for the $68 million.

"It's a good opportunity for the special purpose liquidator to take action against John Park because he was the person who dismissed all the workers and decided not to pay them their entitlements," Mr Palmer told AAP.

He's accused Mr Park of blocking a restructure that could have kept the refinery open and saved hundreds of jobs.

"We weren't responsible. John Park did it all as administrator," Mr Palmer said.

"The facts will come out. Now we've got a new liquidator maybe we can look at some of these things objectively."

FTI says Mr Palmer's claims lack foundation, and the firm will vigorously defend any court action should the MP actually proceed with it.