TAXPAYERS will fund almost $74 million in entitlements owed to Clive Palmer's sacked Queensland Nickel workers but the Federal Government has vowed to fight to get the money back.
Employment Minister Michaelia Cash said she would bring forward payments to the Townsville refinery workers under the Government's Fair Entitlements Guarantee (FEG) scheme.
Senator Cash said it was extremely disappointing that Queensland Nickel Joint Venture Partners "have not taken care of this business responsibility to look after their workers."
The FEG was set up under the Howard government to ensure employees received their unpaid entitlements, and normally kicks in once a company is in liquidation.
The $73.9 million bill will be the largest payout under FEG for a corporate collapse, the ABC reported.
Senator Cash said the Government would ask a judge to appoint a Special Purpose Liquidator to help the Commonwealth recover some of the money it expects to pay for worker entitlements.
"We must remember what is occurring at QNI is of no fault of the employees. This is solely the responsibility of Clive Palmer,'' Senator Ash said.
"When a company does go into liquidation employees are able to make a claim on the Fair Entitlements Guarantee.
"It is Clive Palmer's legal responsibility and his moral responsibility, he is the person who owes these employees their entitlements.
"Hard working employees, they went to work every day, they worked hard, they accrued entitlements.
"It is because of the actions of Clive Palmer that they are potentially not going to receive these entitlements but for the Fair Entitlements Guarantee.
"I do not believe Clive Palmer should be let off the hook and the government is considering its options.
The ABC reported the ghe Government will nominate PPB Advisory founding partner and chairman Stephen Parbery as the Special Purpose Liquidator.
There will be information sessions in Townsville next week to help sacked staff lodge a FEG claim.
Queensland Nickel's administrators FTI Consulting recommended creditors wind up the company. Their report found Mr Palmer and his nephew Clive Mensink had acted "recklessly" as directors of the company.
Mr Palmer has labelled the report a 'beat up'.