ATO moves on Gold Coast firm after CQ miner pay snub
The Australian Tax Office has moved to wind up Civil Australia Holdings Pty Ltd, the contracting company at the centre of the missing wages debacle concerning workers at Callide Mine.
The application was lodged on Sunday, and if successful will see the company's assets liquidated and the business dissolved.
A hearing has been set for 9:30am at the Federal Court in Brisbane on April 22.
Twenty-one workers walked off the job at Callide in the week leading up to March 22 after claiming they hadn't been paid for more than three weeks.
"Just after we didn't get paid, I sent (the workers) home that afternoon for safety - their mind wasn't on the job," said a former supervisor at the site.
"They were prepared to work but I said that was my call.
"The next day it came back that we weren't going to paid until the following week, and still most of us turned up on the Friday.
"Well that never happened."
The supervisor said the only official communication he had had with the company since was a phone call telling him to return his hire vehicle.
Civil Australia Managing Director Jason Wagner has not answered or returned calls from the Central Telegraph, or from any employees or businesses that we have spoken to.
Several Biloela businesses say they are owed money by Civil Australia, which they now do not expect to get back.
Companies from Brisbane, Mackay, Murgon and Toowoomba have also since come forward claiming that Civil Australia owes them upwards of $1 million for the lease of their heavy machinery, including equipment leased at the Daunia Mine site near Mackay.
LISTEN | Reporter Campbell Gellie explains:
One equipment hire business manager told the Gladstone Observer that he knew something was wrong when Civil Australia attempted to change their Australian Business Number.
"They tried to change their ABN while we still had the contract under their former one," he said.
A spokesperson for Anglo American, the operator of Callide Mine, said production at the mine had not been affected as the company was contracted to undertake "minor repair and rehab works following Cyclone Marcia," and had been working on culverts and drains since October 2015.
Civil Australia's website now simply shows the company logo and the word "Updating", however some documents hosted on the site are still accessible.
One document entitled "The Civil Australia Way" outlines a code of conduct for employees, specifying that they will "Accept responsibility and accountability for (their) actions."
The document also prominently features a quote from investor Warren Buffett: "It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it."