Jock Moore (right) and many of his colleagues have been stung by the collapse of two building companies, back-to-back.
Jock Moore (right) and many of his colleagues have been stung by the collapse of two building companies, back-to-back.

Hard work, but harder to get paid

STUNG by two failed out-of-town developers that have gone to the wall, Coffs Harbour’s Hunt and Moore Bricklayers have basically worked the past two years for nothing.

At a time when the Coffs Harbour building industry is feeling the squeeze, partners Peter Hunt and Jock Moore have a tough-luck story to tell of hard work for no reward.

Their company had just gotten over the troubled Simcorp Beaches development at Park Beach, almost a year to the day, when news broke last month Perle Pty Ltd had gone into receivership.

“We were hit for $40,000 in unpaid work when Simcorp went under, and this time round we’re owed $50,000. It’s been tough wearing the bills for these out-of-town companies,” Mr Hunt said.

“We have just got to turn the page and keep going, it’s no good counting our losses, but we’ve basically worked the past two years for nothing.

“The hard thing is we’ve still had to pay our men and pay suppliers for sand, cement and bricks. This would be the case with most creditors. Some affected tradies would have sought extensions on their payments to suppliers but most I know would be too proud to roll over and not pay.”

Helping to blockade Perle’s stalled Harbour Drive public housing development this week, the out-of-pocket brickies revealed the true extent of their loss.

“As far as Simcorp goes I don’t think we’ll see a brass razoo, liquidators are saying they haven’t got any money. I don’t think they’d be able to cover the cost of postage stamps to send out the information to creditors,” Mr Hunt said.

While Perle’s NSW Housing projects are still in the hands of administrators.

“Coffs Harbour has a history of out-of-town investors going broke, maybe now we’re just going to have to knock back the work or run our own credit checks on companies. With this being a government job we thought it was safe,” Mr Hunt said.

“It leaves a real bad taste in the mouth, we trusted these guys out of Sydney completely.”

The 60 local creditors, owed $1.639 million in unpaid work, have blockaded the worksite with concrete barriers in a bid to stop Housing NSW appointing a new builder to finish the job.

Other creditors Warren Nix and Hilda Burnett emphasised that if the debts weren’t paid, the fallout from the troubled Keneally

Government stimulus package projects will have a massive impact on the local economy.

“We’re hoping some of the younger sub-contractors who have lost out building public housing units don’t lose their own homes as a result,” Mr Nix said.

Affected tradies have called on others in the industry not to take on work at the Harbour Drive site and stand with them to bring an end to construction companies leaving debts in Coffs Harbour. 

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