Central Queensland construction services company the JM Kelly Group has gone into administration.
The company has projects throughout Queensland and northern New South Wales, and employed about 230 people.
Rockhampton Regional Council acting mayor Cherie Rutherford described news of the voluntary administration as deeply disappointing for the whole community.
“This news is upsetting not just for the workers, sub-contractors and businesses around the region who do work for JM Kelly but for their families as well,” Cr Rutherford said.
“The loss of any jobs and supply chain work will be felt deeply by our whole community.
“Council will now have to wait to hear from the administrators to see what next steps will be taken following this announcement, including any impact on outstanding works council had commissioned JM Kelly to undertake.”
Capricorn Enterprise chief executive officer Mary Caroll said JM Kelly’s preclusion to tender for almost $90 million of State Government work in the region had led the company to launch legal proceedings with QCAT (Qld Civil and Administrative Tribunal). While the action was successful, these matters had proved financially draining for the company, she said.
“The JM Kelly Group has historically contributed approximately $100 million to the local economy each year,” she said.
“The family-owned group, established in 1961, has been one of the state’s largest privately owned construction companies, currently employing almost 230 local people including almost 40 apprentices, and is one of the few construction companies with its head office based regionally in Central Queensland and not South East Queensland.”
Derrick Vickers and Michael Owen of PwC Australia have been appointed voluntary administrators of JM Kelly Group entities JM Kelly Builders and Kawana Joinery Co and appointed as liquidators of an additional eight entities in the group.
PwC said the administrators would be conducting an urgent review to ascertain whether the business could continue trading and that the first meeting of creditors was due to take place within eight business days.
Meanwhile the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) started action to exclude company director John Murphy from the building industry and revealed it had recently issued notices to J M Kelly Builders to show cause why the company licence should not be suspended due to multiple debt complaints.
QBCC Commissioner Brett Bassett said the QBCC had started exclusion action against Mr Murphy in 2016, following the liquidation of another company. He said that given today’s statement that the company had appointed administrators, the QBCC would again take exclusion action, as required by law.
The QBCC advises anyone owed money by JM Kelly Builders and Kawana Joinery to contact it as soon as possible.
Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga said she had reached out to the CFMEU Construction branch and the Queensland Subcontractors Alliance to offer my condolences and support.
“I hope the families are paid their entitlements, and I’m sure given that there were employees who worked for the company for decades, there will be significant redundancy payments. I hope too that subcontractors are paid their bills,” she said. “I understand that both the Employment and Industrial Relations Ministers are aware of the circumstances and are acting accordingly.”