DEMANDING CHANGE: Graham Reid, Garry and Christine Vincent at On Hire Rentals wants the government to fix the problem of businesses not getting paid.
DEMANDING CHANGE: Graham Reid, Garry and Christine Vincent at On Hire Rentals wants the government to fix the problem of businesses not getting paid. Jann Houley

Hire company shafted by multiple CQ business collapses

ANGRY about wearing the cost of business collapses, Garry Vincent is demanding change to a situation that is "destroying lives".     

In addition to the collapse of JM Kelly in October, Mr Vincent, the owner of On Hire Rentals, has lost a bucket-load of cash thanks to the bankruptcies of Busby Contracting and Metro Homes over the past year.     

In the weeks leading up to JM Kelly's demise, Mr Vincent caught wind of their financial woes but was persuaded by a good friend in the company to continue to hire out equipment, including an all-terrain forklift for use at the South Rockhampton Aldi construction site, the day before the company's collapse.     

"I got a call at 10.30am telling me the gates had been locked so I raced over to try and get my forklift back and couldn't get it,'' Mr Vincent said.     

"Under our terms and conditions, as soon as a company stops trading, all use of that equipment stops."     

He found his forklift being used on a private property and after taking it back and securing it on another private property, the police were called, forcing them to put the machine back on the JM Kelly site, to continue to be used.     "That was an extra $1000 in cost to our business," Mr Vincent said.

"We ended up getting burnt for a little bit over $15,000."    

As a direct result of the losses he suffered, Mr Vincent was forced to cut employees' hours back from full-time to a few hours a week.     

"We don't have the (cash) reserves anymore, we need to dig deep to find more money to keep trading," he said.      The JM Kelly collapse wouldn't have caused such an impact to his small business if it hadn't already been hammered by other company collapses.     

"For a small hire company, every loss adds up," Mr Vincent said.     

When Busby Contracting folded in February last year, On Hire Rentals lost $67,000.    

The failure of Metro Homes in June and HJ Homes (building licence suspended in October) also cost him several thousand.    

"It's not just JM Kelly. It's flowing right down. I'm feeling it from other subbies that are still struggling. It's like a big daisy chain," Mr Vincent said.     

"The poor old subbies get burnt, I just write their debts off because they're not going to be able to pay me."     

Mr Vincent is outraged that the government has not moved to fix the system, despite company after company going under, forcing him to wear the costs and cut back staff hours to keep his business afloat.     

"People are committing suicide because of some of these debts that are being incurred. It splits up marriages. These guys are absolutely destroying people's lives, our beliefs and our dreams, and getting away with it and they're still eating rib fillet," Mr Vincent said.     

"All we want is a level playing field where anybody supplying equipment to a project gets paid. There should be a guarantee.    

"If I have to borrow equipment or borrow money, I've got to have a guarantee to the bank that I'll be able to pay all my bills. How are they getting away with it?    

"How do we stop this from happening? How do we regulate this industry? At what point do people's lives, people's dreams and people's businesses matter?     

"It's got to be at a cost to the economy and it's got to be at a cost to the government. They need to regulate this." 

Last week, the Queensland Building and Construction Commission entered into a funding arrangement of $200,000 to back a public examination into the collapse of the JM Kelly Group.     

This would allow the liquidator, Derrick Vickers of PwC, to question parties, including the company's director John Murphy, in court to obtain information for potential civil and criminal claims.    

PwC said it would be a few weeks before where and when the public examinations took place was finalised.

 



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