Govt defends hiring Perle Pty Ltd

THE State Government has defended its decision to award NSW Housing projects to a failed construction company, which has left local tradies $1.5 million out of pocket.

In the latest in the Perle Pty Ltd saga, a government spokesman said it was unlikely the company’s financial difficulties were caused by government building contracts.

It came after Coffs Harbour plumber Ernie Burnett went public revealing his company was owed $300,000 for work on three local public housing projects.

Mr Burnett was one of many creditors to criticise the government for an apparent lack of financial checks on the failed company.

“Looking at the Department of Housing website other builders are now being called to finish off the works on the projects in Coffs Harbour. Where does that leave all the current contractors who have paid out for materials and supplies that they can no longer use,” Mr Burnett said.

“These jobs should be on hold until the State Government steps in and renumerates all contractors as it was part of the stimulus package,” he said.

The issue has also seen the first political shot being fired in the Coffs Harbour electorate prior to the March State Election.

Country Labor candidate David Quinn criticised incumbent local member Andrew Fraser for ‘politicising the situation’.

“I might be on the other side of the political fence but from where I sit, it seems our subbies are being rail roaded into premature action by the local member who’s using their plight for his own political purposes,” Mr Quinn said.

“Our subbies need real solutions, not rhetoric – everyone knows that calls for the Government to pay them out are unrealistic.”

Mr Fraser, however, has levelled his criticisms at Premier Kristina Keneally.

“I challenge her and her minister to come to Coffs Harbour and talk to the creditors of Perle Pty Ltd and explain to them why the government won’t meet its obligations,” Mr Fraser said

“They also need to explain to the sub-contractors how a company with only $104,000 of fixed assets could be awarded a contract in Coffs Harbour alone totalling $15 million,” he said.

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