Craig Cleary of Cleary Group Pty Ltd.
Craig Cleary of Cleary Group Pty Ltd. Kari Bourne

Police may be called in over $3m Cleary Group collapse

QUEENSLAND'S construction regulator was investigating a number of potential breaches of the QBCC Act by Sunshine Coast builder Cleary Group Pty Ltd, which has gone into liquidation with debts of more than $3 million.

A QBCC spokesperson said the breaches included but were not limited to sections 42E of the Act which refer to avoidance of contractual obligation causing significant financial loss because of deliberate avoidance or failure to comply with a contract.

It was also considering action under Section 74B relating to the contractor failing to comply with a direction given under section 72(2).

Following complaints from subcontractors to the QBCC about the group's failure to pay debts, the QBCC spokesperson said Cleary Group director Craig Cleary had been interviewed by investigating officers but had refused to provide important financial information, as per legal requirements.

"As Mr Cleary refused to provide audited accounts, we were unable to verify that he had injected $650,000 of his own assets into the company, or whether any additional funds provided by Mr Cleary had helped the company's position," the spokesperson said.

"If there are offences to legislation regulated by other agencies, including police and ASIC, we will provide these agencies with our brief of evidence," the spokesperson said.

"The QBCC can refer matters to other agencies. We have an established history of this, for example, we referred information on Members Alliance to the Queensland Police Service and the company directors are now facing fraud charges." 

Cleary Group Pty Ltd has engaged liquidator SV Partners who have listed more than 50 unsecured creditors owed in excess of $3m.

"Where the money has gone has still to be determined," SV Partners liquidator Terry John Rose said.

"We are in the process of gathering records now. The QBCC suspended the licence and it had to stop trading.

"If a company can't complete it's difficult to collect for work in progress."

It would be November 8, before a second report to creditors was prepared. The liquidator has provided Cleary Group director Craig Cleary with an extension until Thursday to present it with a Report As To Affairs (RATA).

Mr Rose said a number of contracts had been allocated by clients to other builders after Cleary's licence was suspended and subsequently cancelled.

Subcontractors Alliance spokesman Les Williams of Coolum said since the Walton Queensland collapse in 2013, 37 principal contractors had gone into liquidation costing 5000 small business subcontractors half a billion dollars.

He said as a consequence of non payment, in the order of 1000 of small businesses had been forced into bankruptcy themselves.

Craig Cleary was contacted for comment.

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