Minister for Employment Bill Shorten today expressed his concern for employees and families affected by Hastie Group being placed into administration.
“I am particularly disappointed that these potential job losses have been brought about by poor financial management in the company,” Mr Shorten said.
A $20 million financial accounting irregularity at the company and up to $500 million dollars in debt has been reported, as has the recent resignation of two non-executive directors.
“I understand the independent regulator ASIC is investigating this irregularity and that significant penalties are available to ASIC should they find evidence of malfeasance.”
Hastie Group Limited is a listed Australian company employing approximately 4000 workers Australia wide. The company provides construction and maintenance services to the construction sector and building owners, including mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire, refrigeration and air conditioning services.
The Government has been in contact with the administrator and receiver appointed to the company and is working with them to ensure affected workers are provided with all available support.
“The administrator has advised us that they are doing all they can to sell the as many of the subsidiary companies as possible as going concerns to ensure as many workers as possible retain their jobs,” the Minister said.
Where subsidiaries of the company are confirmed to have entered into liquidation, the Government will provide support to eligible workers through the General Employee Entitlements and Redundancy Scheme (GEERS.)
GEERS is a basic payment scheme designed to assist employees who have lost their employment as a result of the insolvency of their employer and are owed certain employee entitlements.
“The Government’s GEERS scheme operates to protect employees’ entitlements in these situations.”
All affected workers will be entitled to employment support through Job Services Australia.
“These are tailored services which cater to individual needs and help people find new jobs as soon as possible,” he said.
“This includes support with everything from preparing résumés and job applications, to honing interview skills and providing career advice.”
Any workers who are facing financial difficulties following their redundancy should also talk to Centrelink Financial Information Services Officers who can provide free, unbiased financial information about their redundancy package and other Government services.
Redundant workers aged 45 and over also have access to free, professional career counselling through the Experience+ Career Advice service.
The Career Advisers can help mature age workers identify their transferrable skills and explore career options.
The Government is in regular contact with Hastie Group administrators and stakeholders and will continue to monitor the situation closely.
The Minister will be meeting with the administrator in Melbourne on Friday.
Mr Shorten’s Media Contact: Sam Casey – 0421 697 660