Clive Palmer speaks to the media
Clive Palmer speaks to the media Alex Nolan

Palmer blames Qld govt

CLIVE Palmer has accused the State and Federal governments of delaying the transfer of approvals that would have allowed the Queensland Nickel refinery in Townsville to keep operating.

Mr Palmer said the jobs of workers laid off would have been saved if what should have been a simple transfer of approvals to operate which were essentially going to the same operators had taken hours instead of days.

He accused the Queensland Government of playing politics rather than thinking about the economy of Townsville.

Mr Palmer said the delay in transferring approvals to operate meant ore could not be shipped to keep the refinery going and new arrangements would need to be reached with new financial backers who had been organised to keep the refinery going.

"We could have saved Townsville a second time."

Mr Palmer could not put a timeframe on when the refinery would be able to be re-opened if and when all approvals to operate were transferred but said it would now be at least a month.

Staff would need to be re-employed rather than just an automatic transfer.

Meanwhile, Mr Palmer said he had not been able to attend a Sky News federal election forum in front of a packed out Coolum Bowls Club on Thursday night because of a prior engagement.

He said he had only been extended an invitation on Tuesday night.

LNP endorsed Fairfax candidate Ted O'Brien said the empty chair meant for Mr Palmer was a metaphor for the electorate's representation in Canberra.

Bowls club staff said people stood toe to heel in the packed club with every chair occupied.

The bowls club only heard Tuesday that the show was coming to town.