Unpaid sub-contractors up the ante as they chase their money
A GROUP of Pacific Highway sub-contractors chasing $7.5million in unpaid invoices has gone political.
On Sunday 11 of a group 23 local small businessmen and women owed money when Queensland company Ostwald Bros went into receivership in August last year, met with NSW Opposition leader Luke Foley to discuss ways to get their money.
A spokeswoman for the Wave 5 Subcontractors, Jo Franklin, said the State Opposition had been in contact with the group for several weeks and last week invited them to Sydney to discuss their grievances with Mr Foley.
Ms Franklin said Sydney City councillor and NSW Upper House candidate Angela Vithoulkas advised them to go political.
"Also one of the Maitland ALP representatives contacted us and put it to Luke to speak with us," she said.
"We want to show that what we do is our world, that infrastructure is what we do.
"Politicians need to see we're one of their assets and we should be looked after and not thrown on the scrapheap if things get difficult for them."
Ms Franklin said one mechanism for short-term relief available to governments outside the voluntary administration process was a tax debt waiver.
"Each of the contractors would have tax debts of more than $100,000," she said.
"The government has the ability to order certain organisations like the Tax Office to waive debts, which would give us some relief.
"What we want is our money back, but with a tax waiver. At least it opens up options for us to borrow to build our businesses back up again."
The Member for Clarence, Chris Gulaptis said a tax debt waiver sounded like a good way to provide some relief in the short term.
But Mr Gulaptis said the government would need to work through the administration process with Ostwald Bros before it could make a definitive statement.
"Whoever did the wrong thing should pay, but no one can actually say who that is at the moment," he said.