Bistro 3 staff missing out on over $100,000 worth of super
Payments were never made
BISTRO 3 staff are owed in excess of $100,000 in superannuation and are unlikely to get it back.
HALL Chadwick administrators yesterday confirmed staff of Bistro 3, which was put into voluntary administration last week by Melbourne-based director Henry Preston, had not been paid their superannuation for at least two years..
It is compulsory by law for businesses to pay superannuation.
Staff are unlikely to receive any money owed for entitlements, holidays and long service leave or receive all their owed superannuation.
Some local suppliers are also owed up to $10,000 but are on the bottom of the chain and will most likely not see one cent returned.
One of the administrators David Ross said the Australian Tax Office was also owed over $100,000 and is on the bottom of the priority list.
Mr Ross said superannuation payments are a priority claim and come under the employee entitlements and if there is insufficient assets to pay out employee entitlements in full there is the Federal Government’s General Employee Entitlements and Redundancy Scheme (GEERS).
“That’s a Government discretionary scheme and it’s entirely up to the Government to pay that, but it doesn’t cover super,” he said.
“The ramification of the superannuation not being paid is the business goes into insolvency.
“If the company is liable for the debts and goes into liquidation, the liquidator conducts an investigation into affairs.
“If there’s any offence, the directors can be held personally liable for debt that incurred while the company was insolvent.”
Mr Ross said it could become a very long and expensive case to run if Bistro 3 is found to have been trading while insolvent, which is a civil offence.
Mr Preston had no comment when asked about the outstanding employee superannuation payments and could not say whether the employees would ever see the money owed to them.
“The issue now is in the hands of the administrator and it has nothing to do with me anymore on a personal basis,” he said.
If the superannuation and employee entitlements cannot be paid out, Mr Preston said he would not sell his red Ferrari to pay them out of his own pocket and said morally, he has already given back to Bistro 3.
“When you look at what my partner and I have done over 11 years putting in $1.9 million, morally I think we fulfil 20 of our obligations,” he said.
“And also providing ongoing jobs rather than closing it down earlier - it just happened to get to a point where we could not keep it going any longer.
“My partner and I have provided a service to the town and jobs for people for the last 11 year but are not in a position to do so anymore and morally I agree I’m not happy about it.
“It’s certainly not the first business and restaurant to go under and I don’t believe Bistro 3 will be the last one, I think you’ll see a litany of them by the end of the year.”
The first creditors meeting was held in Cairns yesterday and the administrators will issue a report detailing their investigation and asset liability of the company and present the options available to the creditors in the coming weeks.