Qld govt says Palmer must give up refinery

By Nathan Paull

Clive Palmer needs to give up ownership of his ailing north Queensland nickel refinery if it is to have any hope of receiving state government financial support.

Treasurer Curtis Pitt says Mr Palmer's exit from Queensland Nickel is one of three conditions the government needs before it will consider administrators FTI Consulting's request for a $10 million loan guarantee to keep open the refinery, near Townsville.

"When we've asked for information in the past, trying to deal in good faith we hadn't received all of the information required," Mr Pitt said on Sunday.

"In order for Queensland taxpayers to have any faith in the process ... we would need to be dealing with an independent group, which weren't playing any games, and we've seen Mr Palmer playing games for some time."

Mr Pitt said the government also needed its independent advisors to have full access to the company's books to fully understand its financial position.

It would also need assurances that any government funding provided would be secured against the administrators themselves, he said.

Mr Pitt said the government was still in talks with FTI Consulting and was yet to receive a response to its conditions.

He said he was disappointed the federal government, which had a history of bailing out struggling private enterprises, was refusing to help refinery workers keep their jobs.

Queensland Nickel was placed into voluntary administration in January, just days after 237 workers were sacked from the refinery.

FTI Consulting last week asked the state government for a $10 million overdraft facility to avoid the nickel plant closing down within days.

While Mr Pitt didn't want to comment on whether administrators were overstating the urgency of the situation, he said it was a far shorter time frame than what was given during the first creditors' meeting in January.