Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

Subbies: Ri-Con's Struggles Known in August

Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

Subbies: Ri-Con's Struggles Known in August

Article excerpt

Byline: scott kovacevic

MP calls for investigation QUESTIONS about Gympie Regional Council's management of projects awarded to now-collapsed Ri-Con Contractors continue to swirl, with the council refuting claims it knew about the company's struggles as early as last August.

O'Brien Plumbing Gympie director Tim Bothams, who was owed more than $150,000 when Ri-Con fell over, claims the council was aware in August subcontractors on the Kilkivan Equestrian Centre were being left unpaid.

Another subcontractor, who worked on the equestrian centre and requested anonymity, claimed he spoke to the council about late payment and breach of contract on payment terms last August.

He said he was paid within 48 hours of raising his concerns with the council. However, a council spokeswoman said the council first became aware of the problems on November 25, after which they "spoke to Ri-con regarding council's concerns of the impact this may have on local contractors".

In a letter sent to councillors and the council on February 4, Mr Bothams said a timeline of the events showed "hard questions need to be asked" about work on the $2 million equestrian centre and the $2.8 million Gympie Youth Precinct.

"The last eight months of dealing with Ri-Con ... and Gympie Regional Council with these two projects have shed poor light on the workings of this council and the management of building projects," Mr Bothams said. He said Ri-Con, removed safety fencing and signage from the equestrian centre on September 6, and the company's project manager never returned to the site or answered calls.

From this point the council's project managers essentially took over the project until its December 12 completion, he claimed.

He said he was told in early December Ri-Con had been paid in full by the council except for $30,000 in extras, despite the centre not yet having had its final building, fire and plumbing inspections.

Mr Bothams also asked why Ri-Con was paid for work on the youth precinct before these finals were issued for the site, too; the precinct still does not have its plumbing final issued. …

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