Gympie subbies reveal toll of Stirling Homes collapse
SUBCONTRACTORS left in the lurch over the $6 million liquidation of Gympie builders Stirling Homes have admitted they are resigned to the probability they'll "never see our money again".
We launch an investigation today into the collapse of some dozens of building companies across Queensland who owe local subcontractors millions of dollars.
Allegations of embezzlement and insolvent trading were given as reasons behind the Stirling Homes collapse after it went under owing up to $6 million to more than 130 creditors last October.
READ MORE ABOUT STIRLING HOMES' COLLAPSE
Reports lodged with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission by liquidator Chifley Advisory listed almost $1.4million owed to 113 "additional unsecured creditors" by Stirling Investments Qld Pty Ltd, run by director Peter Ross Bazzan.
Among them was Sunshine Coast-based roofing contractors H&L Constructions, who are owed a total of $21,261.90 but aren't confident of seeing it paid.
H&L co-owner Rebecca Pettigrove, who operates the business alongside husband and director David, said builder insolvencies had become an all too familiar experience.
"We're a small family business - this is a lot of money to a lot of people," Mrs Pettigrove said.
"We pay all this money for a QBCC licence but we don't feel protected. We feel really let down.
"It has huge knock-on effects, everyone's getting scared ... you get a new builder and you want to ask for 50 per cent up front because you just don't know if they're reliable."
Another Stirling subcontractor, who chose to remain anonymous, said he felt sympathy for Mr Bazzan, who had been "trying to work his way out" of trouble before the company went under.
The contractor said he had become used to builders going into liquidation, and he "(didn't) think anyone will get their money" in the Stirling fallout.
The liquidator reports lodged with ASIC revealed Stirling Investments Qld and PRB Construction, both run by Mr Bazzan, had significant financial issues long before they collapsed.
Liquidator Gavin Moss said Stirling Investments may have been trading insolvent as early as June 30, 2016, and PRB Construction the year before that.
He cited embezzlement of funds, staffing issues and poor business management among the reasons given by Mr Bazzan for the companies' failure in the report.
We have many subbies in the region whose stories we will tell in the coming days.
If you are a subcontractor who has been impacted please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.