Wangaratta business Bruck Textiles has gone into liquidation and been bought by Australian Textile Mills, with questions around the appropriateness of the deal.
The Border Mail reports that 60 workers lost jobs when Bruck went into liquidation, with workers notified on Friday and ATM pledging to invest $8 million in the factory. Around 120 have been offered roles at ATM.
Bruck was bought for a dollar, Fairfax reports, and ATM was registered on June 10 by Philip Bart – Bruck’s principal owner – and Geoff Parker, Bruck’s chief executive and now chief executive of ATM.
According to the same article, Bruck has received $2.9 million in public assistance in the last 18 months, and it will not be paying long service leave, notice pay or redundancy pay, with these instead to be covered by the federal government under the Fair Entitlements Guarantee. These liabilities are put at $3.8 million
The Wangaratta Chronicle notes that independent MP for Indi Sophie McGowan has requested a meeting with industry minister Ian Macfarlane and support from Eric Abetz on expediting payments from the FEG to sacked staff.
A spokesman for employment minister Abetz said urgent advice was being sought on the issue.
“The government is very concerned at any suggestion of companies entering into contrived arrangements to avoid paying employees' entitlements, and any wrongdoing should be dealt with by the relevant authorities,” the spokesman told Fairfax.