Quinn ’taken down’

By Shelby Brooks

A Pakenham based water and sewer infrastructure specialist is in liquidation following a pay dispute with the North East Link Project.

Quinn Civil was hired as subcontractor for the North East Link Project but say unforeseeable variations in the project, as well as Covid shutdowns, saw the scope of the project increase by millions of dollars above the intitial tender.

Quinn Civil spokesperson Raelene Quinn said the company was forced into liquidation after not being paid for approximately $18-20 million worth of variations by major builder CPB.

“It’s just a big black hole,” Ms Quinn said.

“They’ve just taken down a 60-year-old company that’s been around forever, built from nothing over many many decades.”

Ms Quinn said the variations were not part of the original contract and were not foreseeable.

“There was mounting costs in variations and changes in scope on the job that CPB failed to address and the financial burden fell on us,” she said.

“We’ve done lots of major works similar to this project, this is nothing new for us, it’s our bread and butter work.

“They [CPB] have just been ruthless in the way they have executed themselves and conducted themselves onsite.

“We’ve been around for 60 years, we’ve been accredited to all the waterboards, we’re probably one of the oldest accredited companies to all major water authorities in Victoria.”

Quinn Civil was “sacked“ on Friday 26 November. However, before the company was terminated, Quinn Civil and CPB had reached an agreement worth $11 million to pay for work carried out in “September, October and some variation on both contracts“ according to Ms Quinn.

“We have not been paid any of this. We want this money to pay our creditors and, if possible, keep trading.”

Ms Quinn estimates the company has over 100 creditors.

“Other companies could potentially go under if we don’t (get the money),” she said.

“We have 21 direct employees, plus subbies we use regularly. Some employees who have worked for us for 25 plus years we had to say goodbye to last Friday.

“It was a very sad time for Quinn Civil.”

North East Link chief executive Duncan Elliott said NELP’s early works managing contractor haD advised that all payments owed under its contract with Quinn Civil for work on North East Link had been made.

“Quinn Civil has lodged a range of commercial claims that are being worked through, many have already been resolved,” he said.
“As a result of Quinn Civil’s insolvency CPB and NELP are working to ensure that Quinn Civil’s subcontractors can be re-engaged directly with the project.”