50 most pow­er­ful

Who is No. 1?

Townsville Bulletin - - Front Page -

NORTH Queens­land’s most pow­er­ful per­son is Clive Palmer, the bil­lion­aire min­ing mag­nate, who sin­gle-hand­edly saved 1100 jobs at the Yab­ulu nickel re­fin­ery.

BHP Bil­li­ton, the pre­vi­ous owner, had se­cu­rity guards on their way to Townsville as Mr Palmer inked the deal with the Bligh Gov­ern­ment to take over Yab­ulu.

Just be­fore Christ­mas, to cel­e­brate the plant’s $ 200 mil­lion profit, Mr Palmer gave his top 55 staff a new Mercedes Benz, while the other 1050 em­ploy­ees were gifted week-long hol­i­days to Fiji.

But his in­flu­ence doesn’t just ex­tend to sav­ing the liveli­hoods of a thou­sand fam­i­lies. Mr Palmer is very close to the LNP in Queens­land but he also has the ear of the ALP Cabi­net.

When Big Clive talks, peo­ple lis­ten. And he has the power and wealth to make life dif­fi­cult for his op­po­nents. Mr Palmer’s el­e­va­tion to the top spot means Cow­boys chair­man and mil­lion­aire prop­erty de­vel­oper Lau­rence Lancini drops from the top spot to num­ber two.

How­ever Mr Lancini has been far from idle, con­tin­u­ing to de­velop projects, al­beit in other ar­eas of North Queens­land be­cause he sees the Townsville coun­cil’s high in­fra­struc­ture charges as rea­son to go else­where.

His de­sire to turn the for­tunes of the Cow­boys around was seen late last year when CEO Peter Parr was de­posed, go­ing back to foot­ball man­ager, and for­mer News Lim­ited ex­ec­u­tive Peter Jour­dain was given the top job.

It’s al­ways a con­tro­ver­sial list – and by ne­ces­sity it’s pep­pered with politi­cians al­though, in­ter­est­ingly, two pri­vate busi­ness­men fill the top spots – and it’s sure to cre­ate plenty of de­bate.

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