Workers owed $280k after local business liquidated

UPDATE: Employees owed thousands of dollars from a Toowoomba-based construction and employment company have been left with few options after it went into voluntary liquidation.

Ivan Johnston and Co and two related entities, IJC Employment and Commercial Plumbing Services, went into liquidation on October 27, with more than $280,000 left owing to workers.

Brisbane-based firm SV Partners directors Anne Meagher and Terry Grant van der Velde have been appointed to oversee the liquidation but have warned it is unlikely any unsecured creditors will recover costs.

Ms Meagher said IJC Employment was a labour hire business providing employees for the building and plumbing businesses, with seven projects under construction in the Toowoomba area.

Those projects were determined to be "uncommercial" to continue with, or the projects were terminated by contractors, she said.

"Employees are owed about $281,886 (including redundancy and payment in lieu of notice) by the employment company," she said.

"At the time of the appointment, there were seven residential or commercial projects being completed by Ivan Johnston & Co.

"The liquidators reviewed the costs to complete these projects and have over time either determined it was uncommercial to do so or have been notified by head contractors that the contracts are now terminated."

SV Partners yesterday afternoon met with creditors to discuss what options were available.

"The fixed assets owned by Ivan Johnston & Co will be realised and the proceeds paid first to the company's secured creditor (NAB).

"Unfortunately at this time it does not appear there will be a return to unsecured creditors.

"However investigations are continuing and any return to unsecured creditors would be dependent on the outcome of these investigations."

Ms Meagher said employees had been advised to lodge claims with the Department of Employment to "recoup any money owed to them" through the Fair Entitlements Guarantee Act 2012.

"Employees needing assistance with their claims should contact SV Partners," she said.


EARLIER, 11AM: A major Toowoomba construction company and two contractor companies have gone into liquidation.

Toowoomba family-run business Ivan Johnston and Co, IJC Employment and Commercial Plumbing Services have effectively ceased trading and staff terminated as liquidators review and, where possible, recover debts owed to subcontractors.

Insolvency firm SV Partners were appointed to review the three companies' books two weeks ago.

Commercial Plumbing Services staff was terminated two weeks ago and has since stopped trading.

SV Partners liquidator Anne Meagher said the firm had met with directors and book keepers of each of the businesses and reviewed six projects under contract by IJC.

She said each of the six projects had been assessed before the decision was made to not complete any of them.

Ms Meagher said despite three of the projects having the potential for completion, the decision continued work was not financially viable and they had been stopped.

The projects are understood to include major works at 661 Ruthven St, the University of Southern Queensland and a number of private development projects.

Ms Meagher said it was unlikely any creditors would recover funds in the liquidation sale which is slated for Monday.

A creditors meeting is being held this afternoon in Toowoomba.

Ms Meagher said the National Australia Bank held the security of the company's assets and would be the priority receiver of any funds recovered.

"We've written in our creditors report at this stage it looks like everything we realise has to go to the banks first, or the finance company," she said.

"At this stage it looks like it's going to be difficult to get the National Australia Bank paid out.

"It doesn't look like there will be a return to unsecured creditors unless our investigators find anything else."

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