Bistro 3 staff miss­ing out on over $100,000 worth of su­per

Pay­ments were never made

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - AN­GELIQUE PAT­TER­SON

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.

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