Clive Palmer defends interests in nickel refinery

THE Queensland MP with one of the longest lists of business interests in Federal Parliament - Clive Palmer - has defended his interests in a nickel refinery near Townsville.

Mr Palmer addressed the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday on a wide range of issues, including reports his Yabulu nickel refinery has breached environmental laws.

Reports in The Australian on Wednesday cited federal government documents which said Queensland Nickel had not been prosecuted over the alleged breaches.

But Mr Palmer said none of his companies had breached any environmental laws, and that his record was backed by "a number of awards" for his various business interests.

The Fairfax MP has come under increasing pressure during parliamentary sittings this week to talk openly about his businesses, including the Palmer Coolum Resort where hundreds staff are understood to have been laid off.

Reports on Wednesday said his refinery had been discharging sewage with high nitrogen levels into the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

But Mr Palmer said his company had already solved the problem, and the Queensland Government's renewal of a three-year licence for the refinery was evidence the problem was solved.

"We had to spend a lot of money ...and we came to that solution," he said.

"We have never breached environment laws in Queensland."

Mr Palmer also hit out at the author of The Australian article, Hedley Thomas, who has been reporting on Mr Palmer's business interests for some time.



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