Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has refused to answer questions about the controversial transfer of health and education contracts from one failed central Queensland builder to another related company that went broke two years later leaving hundreds of unsecured creditors owed millions of dollars.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has refused to answer questions about the controversial transfer of health and education contracts from one failed central Queensland builder to another related company that went broke two years later leaving hundreds of unsecured creditors owed millions of dollars. DARREN ENGLAND

Tough questions Qld Premier won't answer

THE Premier has refused to answer questions about the transfer by her government of contracts it had with a failed central Queensland builder to another in the same group that was to also go broke.

In a response to the Sunshine Coast Daily through a spokesman and again in Parliament yesterday under questioning from LNP, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she would not comment on matters that relate to JM Kelly Group companies, JM Kelly Project Builders and JM Kelly Builders, because they were now the subject of a Public Examination by liquidator PwC.

Hundreds of trade creditors were left unpaid millions of dollars in the wake of the 2016 liquidation of JMK Project Builders and the 2018 collapse of JM Kelly Builders.

The Queensland Building and Construction Commission has provided $200,000 in funding for the public examination in the Federal Court of Brisbane of directors and others in relation to the latest insolvency.

CATCH UP WITH OUR BACK OUR SUBBIES CAMPAIGN

That's money Subcontractors Alliance head Les Williams said, would have been better utilised by the appointment of an independent reviewing liquidator over both the JM Kelly companies.

He said both were part of a group that operated via a central treasury function with cross-collateralised loans.

Mr Williams said unsecured creditors were concerned that all pre-insolvency arrangements relating to both companies would not be fully explored.

He said PwC had a relationship with JM Kelly Group banker, the NAB, which had voted twice against the wishes of the majority of unsecured JM Kelly Builders creditors to ensure it was retained as liquidator.

PwC was engaged by NAB in the compiling of a report to the Hayne Royal Commission relating to governance matters and was also on a panel of liquidators to which the bank directed clients in financial trouble.

The names of the individual liquidators now representing PwC and FTI in the JM Kelly Project Builders and JM Kelly Builders' liquidations were specified on the NAB panel.

Following the collapse of JM Kelly Project Builders in 2016, the departments of Education, Health and Housing and Public Works arranged the transfer of 21 contracts they held with the company to JM Kelly Builders which itself went into liquidation late last year leaving hundreds of subbies and suppliers unpaid.

Ms Palaszczuk declined to answer whether an independent inquiry was needed into how that came about, what was done to ensure unsecured trade creditors were paid, and what if any checks were put in place to verify financial status reports and statutory declarations provided by JM Kelly Project Builders and JM Kelly Builders were accurate.

"The Palaszczuk Government will not comment on any cases that are the subject of ongoing legal action, including possible investigation by ASIC," the spokesman said.

"The matter is also the subject of a public examination in the federal court.

"Any sub-contractor who has not been paid should contact the QBCC, or in the case of JM Kelly, the liquidators, PWC.

"Any evidence of any criminal activity should also be provided to the Queensland Police Service who can assess any evidence and take action, which may include referral to a more appropriate agency."

Mr Williams said he and others had filed police complaints in 2017 and in August, 2018, in relation to Walton Construction Queensland and JM Kelly.

He said he and other complainants had never been formally interviewed in relation to those complaints before the matters were transferred to ASIC.



FUEL PRICES: Where to find the cheapest petrol this Easter

premium_icon FUEL PRICES: Where to find the cheapest petrol this Easter

Where holiday drivers can fill up cheaper

Anglers face heavy fines in prohibited fishing zone

premium_icon Anglers face heavy fines in prohibited fishing zone

'This is a busy time of the year for our compliance teams'

UPDATE: Patient airlifted after quad bike rollover

premium_icon UPDATE: Patient airlifted after quad bike rollover

Paramedics responded to the initial call at 2.35pm.