Clive Palmer says his companies had nearly $500 million in cash reserves, but now liquidators want him to to repay money owed to creditors.
Liquidators are calling on Clive Palmer to repay money to creditors and give jobs back to former workers if he reopens his mothballed Townsville nickel refinery.
Mr Palmer on Wednesday announced his companies had nearly $500 million in cash reserves and he would use some of that to restart the Queensland Nickel plant where 800 workers lost their jobs.
But both sides of politics cautioned the far north Queensland community of taking his promise beyond face value.
Families left devastated by the redundancies said Mr Palmer should not be allowed to reopen the refinery.
"The government and authorities should not allow him the chance to reopen until he pays the monies owed to previous employees," Darelle Baker said.
Ms Baker's husband Nathan was among the hundreds of workers let go, and estimates he is owed around $30,000 by Mr Palmer's company.
"He needs to be assessed on whether he can truly be trusted to run a business of any type," Ms Baker said.
"He still owes thousands of dollars and those people deserve payment before he does any thing further with the refinery."
Mr Palmer's announcement came after nickel recently hit a three-year price high on the London Metal Exchange.
The former federal MP did not say when it would happen, but hoped it could be achieved "in the shortest possible time".
"It is time for all sides to forget about politics and to support the Queensland company that owns the refinery and is debt free to open and operate (it) for the benefit of Townsville and the nation," Mr Palmer said in a statement.
Late last month, Supreme Court Justice John Bond granted an application by Queensland Nickel's liquidators to freeze more than $200 million of Mr Palmer's assets, and more than $340 million in assets held by Palmer-related companies.
Special purpose liquidators say any move to create jobs for affected workers in Townsville is a positive step forward.
"In the event the refinery actually re-opens, this should also assist Mr Palmer and associated parties to meet the claims brought against them, should the Special Purpose Liquidators be successful in the Supreme Court," they said in a statement.
The state's Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch and Liberal National Party Leader Deb Frecklington responded to Mr Palmer's news with a message of caution.
"We will await to see what he comes up with but given his track record I don't think many people in Townsville will be holding their breath for too long," Ms Enoch said.
Mr Palmer last month claimed he didn't owe anyone any money, and boasted that he's worth $3 billion.
The freezing of Palmer's assets is a temporary action until court proceedings relating to the Queensland Nickel collapse are finalised.