Ex-Qld Nickel refuses to sign Palmer deal
A FORMER Queensland Nickel worker has preferred to maintain his right to speak his mind about Clive Palmer rather than be silenced by a non-disclosure agreement attached to the payment of entitlements being offered by the businessman.
Shaun Bramwell, a former Yabulu refinery operator who has spoken out about the closure of the business, said he felt he was still owed money by Queensland Nickel but was not prepared to sign Mr Palmer's "gag order".
"I just don't trust him. I think that's my right to speak out if I want to," Mr Bramwell said.
The former worker conceded he was probably in the minority in opting not to sign a non-disclosure agreement.
But as far as he was concerned he was still owed entitlements of around $4000.
He said he still may receive what was owed to him by the company in liquidation.
Mr Bramwell was commenting as claims emerge that some former workers are not being paid entitlements, while those who have been paid are questioning why it is being treated as income and taxed at a higher rate.
One claimant, who did not want to be identified, said he had not been paid and that it seemed the payments had "dried up" since the federal election. Mr Palmer established a fund to pay about $7 million in outstanding entitlements as a goodwill measure ahead of May's federal poll.
But the entitlements were due when Mr Palmer's refinery business collapsed three years ago.
"Considering the floods and cyclones that have ravaged North Queensland, I have decided to pay any outstanding workers' entitlement amounts not paid by the liquidators to these workers to assist them and their families in these difficult times,'' Mr Palmer said in April. Now employees are questioning why the money is being treated as income for 2018-19 and taxed at a higher rate than a redundancy or arrears payment.
A media spokesman for Mr Palmer said claims for entitlements could still be made.
The spokesman said QNI Resources Pty Ltd processed all claims received, checking amounts and other issues, and then forwarded the claims to lawyers to pay.
"This happens in a timely manner," the spokesman said.
He said $4,823,390.27 had been paid to date including $1,033,930 in tax.
"The tax payable is in accordance with the tax advices received from QNI Resources external accounts," the spokesman said.
"Claims can still be made."