There is currently an extraordinary level of uncertainty and speculation surrounding the situation at the Yabulu Nickel Refinery, its viability and future operations.

My electorate of Hinchinbrook includes the Yabulu Nickel Refinery. I am extremely worried about the welfare and circumstances of the hundreds of employees who work there and their families.

I also know that the impact and damage the closure of the refinery would have on the economy of the City of Townsville and North Queensland would be very severe.

I note that Mr Palmer has previously met with representatives of the Palaszczuk Government and that today, senior management of the refinery has called on the government to provide assistance to avoid its closure and prevent the loss of jobs.

As I have said previously, if something can done, reasonably and responsibly, by the Queensland Government to assist the refinery to remain open, this should be fully investigated.

Before anything else is discussed, the Queensland Government should secure a guarantee from Mr Palmer that the entitlements of all employees at the refinery are fully funded and protected.

However, I can see no justification for the Queensland Government to use taxpayers’ money to prop up a privately owned business, especially one owned by a self-declared billionaire.

If Mr Palmer had spent more time concentrating on the performance of the Yabulu Nickel Refinery, rather than contesting various federal and state elections, furnishing tourist resorts with dinosaurs and proposing to rebuild the Titanic, we might not be in this situation.

For the people of Townsville and North Queensland, it’s difficult to understand why a court decision in Western Australia has such significant ramifications at the Yabulu Nickel Refinery, other than the complex and elaborate personal financial arrangements of Mr Palmer.

What’s very clear is that there is only one person who would be responsible for any future closure of the Yabulu Nickel Refinery and that person is Clive Palmer.

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