The lawyer acting for a mining entrepreneur says compensation is starting to be paid to former Queensland Nickel (QN) staff who lost their jobs when its refinery collapsed three years ago.
Alexander Law principal Sam Iskander, confirmed at least 20 claims totalling $450,000 have already been paid to applicants from a $7 million trust account fund set up by billionaire and United Australia Party Senate candidate Clive Palmer.
A further 30 claims are expected to be settled before the end of the week, he said.
QMEB can reveal there is still time to make a claim. Simply visit the QN website and provide personal details, employment dates, total entitlements owed, amount received through the Fair Entitlements Guarantee (FEG) Scheme and the outstanding balance.
The following documents are also required for any unpaid employee entitlement claim:
- proof of debt lodged with FTI Consulting as administrator/liquidator of QN
- letter from FTI Consulting to all individual employees (dated on or around 23 March 2016) detailing employee entitlements as at 18 January 2016
- letter from Australian Government Department of Employment detailing all amounts paid under FEG
- remittance advice from Australian Government Department of Employment detailing the amount paid under FEG and reasons for the decision
- PAYG payment summary – employment termination payment issued by the Department of Employment for fiscal 2016 or fiscal 2017 (as relevant).
Palmer has been widely criticised for delaying payment of outstanding worker entitlements while, at the same time, spending tens of millions of dollars on election advertising for his political party. He maintains QN was responsible for paying its former staff and described his decision to intervene and pay as an “act of goodwill”.
He is declining to pay a further $66 million that was already transferred to former workers through the federally funded FEG Scheme, because the amount should be paid by the administrators FTI Consulting who wound up the refinery.
A total of 218 workers were retrenched a few days before QN entered voluntary administration with $300 million in debts. A trial has been scheduled for July 15 to help resolve a legal dispute over the debt.
Palmer previously announced plans to reopen the refinery because the market price of nickel is rising again.
If the fund is not exhausted by compensation claims, the remainder will be returned to QN.