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Hyatt Coolum staff in limbo

Attempts by Mr Palmer a week ago to sack long-term managers Hyatt saw it granted an injunction by the Supreme Court.
Attempts by Mr Palmer a week ago to sack long-term managers Hyatt saw it granted an injunction by the Supreme Court. Chris Ison

DESPITE assurances their jobs would be safe, the results of a Supreme Court action in Brisbane today may still not determine the long-term fate of the 650 staff at the Hyatt Regency Coolum.

Only a week ago staff were each promised a $500 bonus by mining billionaire owner Clive Palmer; $325,000 the Hyatt claimed was not available in reserves at the resort's Coolum bank.

The bonus remains unpaid.

Yesterday KordaMentha adminstrator Ginette Muller offered assurances that it was business as usual and jobs were safe.

A meeting of creditors is required within two weeks under administration.

It may not be until then that the long-term future of staff at the home of the Australian PGA is known.

Attempts by Mr Palmer a week ago to sack long-term managers Hyatt saw it granted an injunction by the Supreme Court. That matter will be resolved today.

But the game was changed by Mr Palmer on Tuesday when he placed his companies Coolum Resort Pty Limited and Coeur De Lion Pty Limited into Voluntary Administration.

The administrator now controls the affairs of the companies and ultimately the resort they own.

.Ms Muller said she would be holding talks with resort managers Hyatt Australia Ltd regarding the ongoing operations.

"Our plan is to ensure it is business as usual at the resort," Ms Muller said.

But KordaMentha itself ran foul of the Supreme Court after issuing a press release referring to the property as Coolum Golf Resort and Spa and Coolum Resort.

It retracted the release acknowledging that the names were contrary to an order of the Supreme Court of Queensland made February 21 and reference should have been to the "Hyatt Regency Coolum Golf Resort and Spa".

The mercurial Palmer, whose A-League franchise team Gold Coast was thrown out of the national competition this week will also be in court today seeking the right of his football team to play this weekend.

Yesterday afternoon he announced the launch of Football Australia to rival the national body Football Federation of Australia.

Sources say regardless of whether a break away league is formed or Football Australia is able to force changes within FFA to drive better outcomes for the game, Mr Palmer has no future as a team owner.

Whether the Hyatt Regency Coolum has a future with Mr Palmer as owner may rest with the court today. It appears unlikely he would tolerate paying the bills for a loss-making resort whose fortunes he can't control.

In the Supreme Court yesterday the Hyatt asked for a continuation of an injunction, which would have them remain agents of the resort, until the matter goes to trial.

The court was told Hyatt received 3% of gross revenues as resort manager. The Hyatt Regency Coolum had been profitable bettween 1993 and 2009 but had operated at a loss for the past three years.

Mr Palmer was seen at the Hyatt Regency Coolum on Sunday before leaving by helicopter.

Sources say the resort's total guest list for that night was only about 78, less than the number of staff on hand to serve them.

Topics:  clive palmer hyatt coolum supreme court



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