The once-busy yard of Jopalo Boats is now quiet.
The once-busy yard of Jopalo Boats is now quiet.

Jopalo Boats sinks with $1m debt

COLLAPSED Yamba boat building firm Jopalo Boats owes almost $1 million, a letter to its creditors has revealed – and the damage may not stop there.

Heading the list, as the only secured creditor, is the Federal Government body Indigenous Business Australia (IBA), which is owed $235,410 of the total debt of $965,612 owed by George Lousick, trading as Jopalo Boats.

The letter also mentions that there were still ‘unknown creditors’ of Mr Lousick who could be added to this list as they come forward.

Mr Lousick filed for bankruptcy with the Insolvency and Trustee Service Australia (ITSA) on April 21.

It is believed that IBA provided the firm with an interest free loan, although details of the relationship between it and Mr Lousick are hard to obtain because of a secrecy clause in the IBA charter.

A week ago The Daily Examiner sent a list of five questions to the office of the Federal Minister for Indigenous affairs requesting information about IBA’s dealings with Mr Lousick. The minister’s office sent these questions onto IBA. As yet there has been no reply.

The questions were:

  • What sort of funding did Mr Lousick or Jopalo Boats or Clarence Valley Aluminium and Steel have with (IBA)?
  • How much was the funding?
  • Was IBA aware that Mr Lousick was bankrupt from 2004 to 2006? If not, why not?
  • We understand there was a business consultant contracted to IBA providing Mr Lousick with some sort of guidance up until 14 months ago. What sort of financial advice was IBA giving Mr Lousick’s company?
  • Where would IBA stand in the list of creditors?

The creditor who supplied details of the debts, Robert Lang, is also keen to have Mr Lousick’s business dealings investigated.

Mr Lang was also keen to have investigators look at the relationship between Mr Lousick’s business and IBA.

“This is not just a company going broke,” Mr Lang said.

“When he took money off me he was supposed to be buying me an engine two days later.

“It was a complete bloody rip-off and a misappropriation of funds. He had no intention of buying the engine.

“If there’s been fraud, or misappropriation of funds or any laws have been broken, he can pay the price.

“Declaring yourself bankrupt and getting out Scot free and ripping people off a $1 million just sucks.”

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