LOCKED OUT: Clive Keenan has accused a State Government-owned company of crippling his business.
LOCKED OUT: Clive Keenan has accused a State Government-owned company of crippling his business. Scottie Simmonds

Failed company accuses ports corp of killing business

THE head of a Bundaberg seafood company has accused the State Government-owned Gladstone Ports Corporation of forcing the enterprise into receivership.

Coral Coast Mariculture was put into receivership late last month.

But managing director Clive Keenan said the company's chances of survival were ruined when its lease over property at the Port of Bundaberg was abruptly cancelled.

Dr Keenan said the company's seafood operation near Yandaran was hit by a large tornado on Australia Day which caused extensive damage.

Then the January flood cut the property off for a week and left it without electricity for two weeks.

"We had started spawning the whiting to stock the farm and were about to start on spawning barramundi too," Dr Keenan said.

He said on May 14 the port's management, without consent or any notice, changed the locks and took possession of Coral Coast Mariculture's seafood factory at the port.

Dr Keenan said this ruined any chance he had of refinancing the business.

CCM took over the property in early 2006 as the base to develop a soft-shell crab aquaculture farm.

"After six years of continuous improvement, CCM's property at the Port of Bundaberg is now equipped as a fully functional scallop and other seafood processing plant, complete with all necessary facilities but currently lacking the capital required to launch and operate fully," Dr Keenan said.

"It is one of the largest and best located facilities on the east coast, and would employ at least 40 people and attract dozens of trawlers from as far away as Cairns when fully operational."

A spokesman for the Transport and Main Roads Department said the Gladstone Port Corporation was required to deliver value for money for Queensland taxpayers.

"Where a business is unable to meet their contractual obligations, we support GPC in taking appropriate action," he said.