Kelly-Anne Trenfield, a liquidator and former administrator of Queensland Nickel’s Yabulu refinery — which went into voluntary administration in January 2016 — has admitted in court that she rejected an offer from Queensland Nickel managing director Clive Mensink to pay all administration costs if she transferred the refinery’s employees and assets to a new operator.
Queensland Nickel owner Clive Palmer commented on this last week, stating that he had given “strict instructions” to Mensink (also his nephew) to pay all bills and transfer the workers so that the business could continue.
He also said it was a disgrace that liquidators would put their own interests before the interests of the employees; hundreds of workers were sacked from Yabulu refinery, leading to a big blow for the North Queensland economy.
“Neither Mr Mensink or I could not do any more than offer to pay all costs owing at that time,” Palmer said. “If the administrator had accepted the money no one would have lost their job and Queensland Nickel would have continued to operate.”
Palmer also referred to the liquidators use of over $10 million in taxpayer funds and attempt to blame him for such problems as a “political abuse of the first order. Taxpayers funds should not be the reward of people that are so heartless to North Queensland.
“Taxpayer funds should be used for hospitals and schools not to line the pockets of $14,000 a day barristers, solicitors and heartless members of the insolvency profession,” he said.
Palmer went on to say he still hoped the refinery could be reopened as soon as possible in an attempt to revitalise North Queensland’s economy given the current high nickel prices.