Concrete barriers prevent entry to the Perle Dept of Housing site.
Concrete barriers prevent entry to the Perle Dept of Housing site. Bruce Thomas

Claims Perle was 'shelf' company

THERE are startling new concerns about the bona fides of the company which has gone bust owing local sub-contractors $1.6 million.

The Member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser, who has gone into bat for the tradesmen, said his initial background checks on Perle Industries Pty Ltd are deeply concerning.

“We are talking about a $2 company, owned by two other $2 dollar companies, which was awarded multi-million dollar government building contracts,” Mr Fraser said.

“How did this happen?”

“My own rudimentary and unpaid searches on Perle have found it was a shelf company owned by two others shelf companies, which are owned directly by the two directors.

“Surely that would flag concern to a company awarding a government building contract or undertaking a financial assessment on the behalf of the government,” he said.

Mr Fraser has handed over sensitive project documents to the creditors for legal assessment.

Those same documents were provided by Housing Minister Frank Terenzini after a meeting of the politicians with creditors and department of housing representatives.

“If sub-contractors truly believe legal action is a course of action that will deliver them some form of justice or compensation, then I’d be the last person to stand in their way – they have the right to go down any path that gives them hope,” Mr Terenzini said.

Firing a shot back at Mr Fraser, he called on the local member to outline what he would do for sub-contractors if the Coalition wins government next month.

“Whilst obviously concerned for the subbies (Mr Fraser) is also using them as a platform for his re-election,” he said.

Solicitors are meantime assessing whether out-of-pocket tradies have grounds for legal action, after creditors voted to liquidate the failed State Government-contracted building firm which has left debts of more than $10 million.

As it stands Coffs Harbour sub-contractors are set to receive about one-twentieth of their entitlements.

Down, but a long way from defeated, members of the creditors committee have met with

lawyers to establish whether there was negligence in the handling of NSW Housing contract tenders.

Affected local companies have vowed to build a fighting fund, if need be, to recover what’s owed.

Pinning their hopes on a courtroom showdown, documents surrounding three NSW Housing projects in Coffs Harbour have been handed over to legal firm Slater and Gordon for assessment.

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