NSW Minister for Roads Melinda Pavey and Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis open the 10km stretch of the Pacific Highway upgrade between Arrawarra and Dirty Creek in October last year.
NSW Minister for Roads Melinda Pavey and Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis open the 10km stretch of the Pacific Highway upgrade between Arrawarra and Dirty Creek in October last year. Debbie Newton

Subbies owed $7.5 million draw line in sand with government

A GROUP of local Pacific Highway sub-contractors battling to recover $7.5million in lost payments due to the collapse of Ostwald Brothers say the RMS and State Government have turned their backs on them.

The Wave5 Contractors group, representing 23 small businesses afftected by the collapse of the Queensland-based firm, said they have drawn a line in the sand after requests for help have been ignored and promises of work for the affected contractors have not come to fruition.

A Wave 5 spokeswoman, Joanne Franklin, said the NSW Minister for Road, Melinda Pavey, and the RMS Pacific Highway, have failed to honour promises made to help contractors.

"Two weeks ago we had Bob Higgins on the radio saying there was plenty of work for affected sub-contractors," Ms Franklin said.

"Our subbies are saying they are putting in for the work, but they're not getting anything from it."

Ms Franklin said she and other Wave 5 members said despite assurances from the Minister she would help them, they had not heard from her.

"We've been emailing her and Bob Higgins regularly, but have not had a reply from either of them."

Ms Franklin said the loss of $7.5million was being felt by the Clarence Valley as well as the sub-contractors.

"That's $7.5million the local economy will never get back," she said. "That's money that would have gone to suppliers, shops and services in the Valley that won't unless these people get paid."

The Member for Clarence, Chris Gulaptis, said he had noted a Supreme Court decision on the matter had been handed down last week, but was not across the details.

"From my understanding there was a finding made against one of the contractors involved," he said.

"I have every sympathy for these people, but before we can go handing out money we've got to have the facts.

"We've had a Supreme Court case and voluntary administration proceedings to give us a picture of what might have happened.

"I'll be in Sydney tomorrow and I will be taking these things up with the Minister."



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