Probe launched on company collapse
Queensland will hold public examinations into the collapse of two major Queensland construction companies, which allegedly left hundreds of small businesses, subcontractors and suppliers unpaid.
The Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) has put up $300,000 to fund inquiries into both Cullen Group and Queensland One Homes.
Cullen Group collapsed in December 2016, leaving a debt of over $18 million owed to 500 creditors, while Queensland One Homes owed $6 million to clients when it collapsed in July 2017.
Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said small businesses are the ones bearing the brunt.
“In both of those cases, hundreds of small businesses, subcontractors and suppliers went unpaid,” he said.
“When that happens, it destroys those small businesses and it ruins families.
“This public examination will see witnesses examined in court and what they'll be looking for is threads to pull to find where that money went.
“Those millions of dollars should have gone into the pockets of Queensland small businesses — instead it's gone somewhere else.
“It's important we look back to these significant collapses and identify where exactly the money went — what went wrong?”
Directors of the two failed companies may be forced to appear before the Federal Court as part of the proceedings.
QBCC Commissioner Brett Bassett said his office had received a number of complaints relating to the two firms.
“There were tens of millions of dollars that were lost as a result of these two companies going down,” he said.
The QBCC is also working on an algorithm to predict if a business is headed for disaster.
“As the regulator of the building and construction sector, we need to make sure that we have early warning and early detection systems in place — that we now have — to help us more proactively identify companies that might be tracking towards financial distress,” Mr Bassett said.