Tradies walk off job site as JM Kelly goes into liquidation
4.30PM: The Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) has announced they would begin action to exclude company director John Murphy from the industry following the JM Kelly Group's voluntary administration.
2.30PM: JM KELLY'S website has been updated, stating that PwC have been appointed as the company's voluntary administrators.
JM Kelly Group includes:
- BPM Cowlrick Pty Ltd
- Burns and Twigg Pty Ltd
- Cajun Pty Ltd
- Central Electrics (Contracting) Pty Ltd
- Central Queensland Investments Pty Ltd
- C.Q Construction Management Pty Ltd
- Fitzroy Industries Pty Ltd
- JM Kelly Builders Pty Ltd
- JM Kelly Management Pty Ltd
- Kawana Joinery Co. Pty Ltd
EARLIER: ONE of Rockhampton's biggest building firms, JM Kelly Group, has today announced it has gone into administration, putting hundreds of jobs in jeopardy.
The company has appointed administrators after extensive legal disputes left the business unable to trade.
Tradespeople working on a JM Kelly site in Rockhampton this morning told The Morning Bulletin contractors were packing up equipment and walked off the job site before 10am.
A witness said contractors were ripping up concrete, pipes, and drains, and driving off the site.
Only a handful of people were left at the site just before 11am.
During Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) proceedings, JM Kelly Group were precluded by the State Government from tendering for almost $90 million worth of Central Queensland work.
Despite QCAT finding in favour of JM Kelly Group and general manager John Murphy to maintain their building licences, the business is unable to trade due to this loss of business.
Mr Murphy said the case was a positive outcome for the companies.
"Unfortunately we had to commit substantial resources in defending our right to maintain these QBCC licences through an unnecessary, time consuming and very expensive legal process," he said.
"Whilst we are happy that we have been found to be correct and that the case is over, the devastating impact of this case means that it is with deep regret that we advise that we are unable to continue to trade."
QCAT found Mr Murphy would be able to maintain his QBCC licence and specifically found he was not an excluded individual under the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991 as a result of his position as an employee and General Manager in JM Kelly (Project Builders) Pty Ltd.
The QCAT judgment was handed down on Tuesday afternoon, 9 October.
Mr Murphy said the efforts to defend the business had considerable impact to its future.
"We actively explored options to allow the company to trade but the ongoing impact of the QBCC's approach against us was insurmountable," he said.
"Despite our submissions explaining the position now upheld by QCAT, the Department of Housing and Public Works also removed us from certain tender lists which prevented us from tendering upon almost $90m of work within Central Queensland.
"This was a significant part of our business.
"These actions are extremely disappointing and has disregarded the jobs of almost 230 people including almost 40 apprentices from within our local community.
"Our focus now is to actively assist the administrators with decisions moving forward."
JM Kelly was established in 1961 and is estimated to have contributed approximately $100 million to the local economy annually.
"The past few years have been very difficult and trying for all of us at JMK," Mr Murphy said.
"We thank our clients that have supported us and our management, staff, subcontractors and suppliers for their support and patience.
"We are deeply saddened that we are unable to continue to trade and we are acutely aware of the impact this decision will have on the local community."
The JM Kelly website has also been taken down.