Home hopes shattered

KEN and Lurlene Dawson sold nearly everything to build a new home in Gracemere, but in the past week their hopes and dreams have fallen apart.

The pensioners signed a $66,000, three-stage contract with Macbuilt Steel Homes for a pre-fabricated kit-home last November.

They paid off two stages (about $44,000) before Macbuilt went into voluntary administration last Wednesday.

By now the Dawsons should have received about two-thirds of their house, including roof trusses, wall frames, roof sheeting, insulation windows and doors.

However, on Friday an employee of Brisbane-based administrator, Hall and Chadwick Chartered Accountants, told them they would not even receive goods from the first stage (which were sitting in Macbuilt's Rockhampton premises) unless they paid an extra $10,000.

Mr Dawson said he did not have $10,000 to spare but agreed to pay $5000 even though the employee, Blair Pleash, did not tell him what the payment was for.

Mr Pleash yesterday told The Morning Bulletin he felt sorry for the Dawsons but said enforcing the $5000 payment was part of his responsibility to Macbuilt's creditors.

"The job of an administrator is to get the best return for creditors,'' he said.

However, yesterday the Dawsons defied the administrator and arrived at the company's Park Street premises with former Macbuilt salesmen Lionel Luckel and Peter Edwards to pick up the first stage of their kit home.

They loaded the wall frames and roof trusses onto the back of a truck before a company representative asked them to leave.

When they refused they were locked in and police were called.

"It's blackmail,'' Mr and Mrs Dawson's daughter Debbie said.

Fearing the company would be placed into liquidation, the Dawson's eventually agreed to hand over the $5000 and drove away with about $20,000 worth of materials.

"It breaks my heart to see something like this happen to Ken and Lurlene, but my fear is that if they don't pay it they will lose it all,'' Mr Luckel said.

Ken and Lurlene were also told they would not receive any materials they had bought under stage-two of the contract, putting them about $30,000 in the red.

"We know we're not going to get that. But at least we've got something,'' Mr Dawson said.

However, he said as pensioners they had very limited income and did not know how they were going to raise the rest of the money.

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