HE is the richest man in Queensland, a resources industry heavyweight built on the foundations of property development.
Last Friday, he returned to speak to eager alumni at the UDIA State Conference at Sheraton Noosa and impart some wisdom to the property industry.
No-one in the room was left wondering just how rich Mr Palmer was, with the lyrics, “I want to be a billionaire so freaking bad”, included in his formal introduction.
He began his speech giving the background of his successes so far through his Mineralogy firm and his plans for the iron ore he owns in Western Australia and the future plans for the China First project in west Queensland.
“I own six billion tonnes of iron ore that is selling for $100 per tonne,” he said.
“And it was 35 years ago in the 1970s that I was at a UDIA annual conference like this one.”
He discussed the importance of China to Australia, not simply because of the benefits to our resources industry but to our country as a whole.
Mr Palmer spoke of his first journey to the communist Mecca in 1962 with his parents, which began his life-long love and interest in the superpower.
“When I bought the iron ore (tenements) 25 years ago, I'd been going to China for a long time,” he said.
“I saw the growth and demand that China would have for materials and that they would eventually get the money to buy it.”
But about halfway through the speech, he arrived at what the room full of conference-fatigued guests had been waiting for.
How had he done it?
“I was once told the Chinese symbol for crisis is the same as the symbol for opportunity,” he said.
“It's not true, but it's good to think that way.
“I made most of my money in my 20s when there was a shocking land market in Brisbane.
“Where the money is today is in China. And there's a huge opportunity to sell directly to China, including for tourism and for developments.”
The long-time contributor and advocate for the Liberal National Party in Queensland and their Federal Coalition counterparts repeatedly made jokes about “not going political”, with each receiving hearty laughs.
Finally he was asked about the five key factors that made him a success and the silence was absolute.
“Firstly,” he said, “Never do anything for money, only do the things you know you can achieve.
“Don't go for something because you'll be paid a lot of money if you know in your heart of hearts it won't work.
“I'm the biggest failure in the state – I've failed more times then I've succeeded, the difference is that I didn't give up.
“And don't take failure personally, it might have been your skills weren't there or the market wasn't ready – it's not personal.
“Try to stay humble, some people won't like you and others will love you – it's all irrelevant.
“And think before you act, there are consequences with every decision.
“Think about what you're doing, do it before business meetings. Plan the future and plan what you want to do with your time – don't just waste it.”
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