In the upside-down world of the building industry it seems it’s always the little guy who pays the biggest price – and they’re set to lose out again, writes Ann Wason Moore
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The destruction of our construction industry continues.
When Gold Coast building giant Condev Construction imploded four months ago, triggering the collapse of local developments like the sold-out $140m Palm Beach tower Alegria and continuing the chain reaction of industry collapses, there was one silver lining.
Speaking to the media while unsuccessfully pleading for developers to come to its rescue, Condev co-founder Tracy Marais insisted all subcontractors, suppliers and staff had been paid to date.
And while liquidators have since revealed that Condev’s debts to subcontractors, staff and other creditors total more than $56m, sharply higher than what was initially disclosed in the director’s report, the truth is worse is yet to come.
Because in the upside-down world of the building industry, it always seems it’s the little guy who pays the biggest price.
Indeed, Master Builders Gold Coast regional manager Adam Profke says those subbies, whom Condev so proudly paid, shouldn’t count their cash just yet.
If liquidators Worrells determine that Condev was trading insolvent, as they have previously indicated, then any payments made to unsecured creditors (subcontractors and suppliers) can be recouped and given to secured creditors (Westpac and the Australian Taxation Office).
“It’s legal … but is it ethical?” Mr Profke asks.
Note; We told them the payments were preferential payments when it happened. Did they listen?