Tradie loses half a million in construction company collapse

Ross Boyle of Rosemount Turf lost about $25,000 during the Waltons Construction collapse.
Ross Boyle of Rosemount Turf lost about $25,000 during the Waltons Construction collapse. Darryn Smith

THE fall-out from the collapse of Walton Construction has deepened, with confirmation one Sunshine Coast tradesman alone is owed almost $500,000.

The owner of the landscaping business, who did not want to be named, is the latest in a string of small business people hit by the construction giant's collapse.

He said his workers were still on the Coles Nambour site the day news of the collapse came through. At that point he ordered his employees to walk off the job.

"We finished up the day they went bust," he said.

"We still hadn't finished, there were a few things to be done."

He had vowed the crisis would not send him to the wall.

Also hit by the collapse was a turf supply company who subcontracted to the landscaping business.

It was the second time Ross Boyle had been hit in the past 18 months. He survived the collapse of the sugar industry by turning his Petrie Creek Rd property into a turf farm in 2003 but the loss of $25,000 last week brings to $40,000 the amount he has lost.

But Mr Boyle is more concerned about the fate of the young landscape contractor who nominally owes him the money for laying 5000sq m of turf at the new Nambour Coles.

"I'm not going to bankrupt him,'' Mr Boyle said of his unwillingness to demand payment of the $25,000 he is still owed.

"But someone else (another subcontractor) will. I'll survive the loss of $25,000, but I would rather have the money.''

Mr Boyle said the competition for contracts had become cut- throat, with some projects being run on 1-2% profit margins so they could keep turning work over and maintain staff in the hope of more profitable days ahead.

Going to creditors' meetings was becoming a waste of time because the banks and wages had first draw on any available funds.

Often the company executives responsible for a collapse were paid wages and salaries ahead of the people owed money.

"And then the administrator is charging $500 an hour,'' he said.

Topics:  landscape small business tradesman tradie walton construction

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