Gladstone company feels pinch from JM Kelly collapse
GLADSTONE Blue Bins helped supply industrial-sized skip bins to JM Kelly Group for a number of years without any major drama.
But that all changed in October last year when Gladstone Blue Bins owner Tony Soppa found out the building company had collapsed and was in the hands of administrators.
"That's just my luck," he thought to himself at the time.
Mr Soppa's company dealt with JM Kelly "on and off" for about five to six years prior to its collapse and had no reason to doubt that their invoices wouldn't be paid.
Previous work included "about $12,000" for an invoice for rubbish and asbestos removal when Calliope State School underwent renovations during 2017.
Its most recent work with the builder was during the middle of last year when they invoiced for a $2500 job - money they're likely to never to see again.
"We did the asbestos removal out at Calliope (State) School and drips and drabs around the place," Mr Soppa said.
"They (JM Kelly) caught up to us at the (Gladstone) Port Authority (building), in the car park there, and that's what they owe us for.
"They were refurbishing something in there but we put the bin in near the car park off Yarroon St.
"It's about $2500 they took us for."
Mr Soppa didn't suspect anything untoward or see any warning signs surrounding JM Kelly, mainly because its cheques cleared after each job with them.
"They paid us okay out at Calliope so that was just the next job with them," he said.
"Once we establish a working relationship with a customer we just go straight ahead - if they aren't going to pay I'm not going to work for them - if they didn't pay for the previous job I wouldn't have gone and worked for the buggers."
Mr Soppa, 74, harbours very little hope he'll get his money back besides from "probably a cent in the dollar" and while the money Gladstone Blue Bins is owed is small compared to other companies, the pinch is just as hard.
"If you get half a dozen of them a year, well that's a lot of wages, so instead of me employing somebody I've got to do it myself and I don't want to, I'm too old for it," he said.
"We try to give a service. We don't want to make a million bucks, we just want to be able to dip our hand in our pocket and pull out a dollar."
Mr Soppa said it was time for the State Government to draw a line in the sand and rein in rogue companies.
"The government have to stop people going broke as a convenience," he said.
"They go broke and start off the next day under a different name. Then bang, away we go again and take the next bloke down, which has happened throughout the years."
"The Government just sit on their hands and do frigging nothing."