ACT News


National Gallery chef in limbo over payments

A chef who has worked for Canberra caterer Fiona Wright for almost three years says he is owed close to $12,000 in unpaid superannuation.

Eric Menard, who works at the National Gallery of Australia for Ms Wright's company Ten and A Half, said he was also left wondering how he would pay the mortgage when he was not paid as usual yesterday.

However, Canberra liquidator Henry Kazar, who is managing Ms Wright's companies after being appointed by the ACT Supreme Court this week, said the employees were not due to be paid until today due to the long weekend. There had also been delays because his own staff were now doing the time sheets.

''We expect all employees to be paid by [close of business today]. If not, it will be because of the banks,'' Mr Kazar said.

Mr Menard's wife Amanda said the group certificates he received from Ms Wright were also incorrect. In the 2010-11 document, both his income and tax paid were under-reported and not what he had actually received and paid out. In the group certificate for the last financial year, Mrs Menard said, in the section for ''reportable employer superannuation contributions'' an amount of $4999 was put in, money she says her husband never contributed.

Mrs Menard said while her husband made representations to his immediate supervisors and to Ms Wright to correct the group certificates, he was ignored.


The couple has lodged three separate claims for the unclaimed superannuation with the Australian Tax Office. So far the ATO has recovered $900.

Mrs Menard said she felt ill when she read Ms Wright's statement about her anguish over the liquidation. ''While Fiona says her life's work is being torn apart by decisions she believes are unfounded and callous, our life is also being torn apart by the failure not to pay my husband's superannuation, leaving us with an uncertain financial future,'' she said.

''We're just taking one day at a time, we're very much in limbo. While my husband enjoyed working at Ten and A Half, he just wants his entitlements.''

Ms Wright said she had two book-keepers working over the period Mr Menard had mentioned and ''no employee inquiries are ignored''.

''His payment received would or should have been correct and as MYOB captures the data from his card and history for the group certificates, I'm not sure how or if it had happened,'' she said.

Ms Wright said the $4999 contribution had been incorrectly printed in the wrong category.

''There [are] one or two others who queried the group certificates and to our knowledge we answered their queries successfully,'' she said.

Ms Wright acknowledged Mr Menard was ''one of many'' with unpaid superannuation. She said despite $440,000 being paid to the ATO for outstanding super for Ten and A Half employees, ''we lost vast amounts of money providing the catering services at the [National Gallery of Australia]''. As a result, superannuation went unpaid.