ACT News


Troubled ASIO building claims another victim

Another local building firm has become a casualty of the dispute over Canberra's $633 million ASIO office building project.

Tread Lightly Earth Moving, which is owed $800,000 for its work on the building, called in administrators on Wednesday.

The Queanbeyan company will continue to trade while in administration and there are no plans to stop work on any of its jobs or to let go of any employees.

Tread Lightly was one of the key creditors of Urban Contractors, which went into administration in October, a move largely blamed on its involvement with the ASIO project.

Many builders around Canberra and the region say they are owed up to $6 million and the industry fears that Tread Lightly's problems are part of a domino effect caused by the disputes on the ASIO job and that there will be more casualties.

According to the ACT government, which has emerged as a key creditor owed nearly $400,000 for the dumping of asbestos-contaminated soil from the site, builders might recover as little as 11¢ in the dollar on what they are owed.


Michael Slaven of administrators Kazar Slaven, said on Wednesday afternoon that it was too early to detail Tread Lightly's financial position.

"I was only appointed a bit over an hour ago so I am trying to get a handle on what the situation is, but we have made the decision to continue the trading operation, to keep the employees on and to continue the current works," he said.

"We have the resources there, we've got all employees and our objective is to get on with the jobs and try to maximise the situation by continuing business."

Urban Contractors called in administrators in October after getting into trouble with its agreement with the lakeside building's main contractors, Lend Lease.

A report from administrator BCR Advisory advised creditors that the long-established external works company got into difficulties largely as a result of its involvement with the ASIO project.

Among its other debts, Tread Lightly, a subcontractor of Urban, owes the ACT government $261,504 in tip fees.

Two adjudications between Lend Lease and Urban Contractors have been decided in favour of the national building giant with the smaller company and its creditors blaming ASIO's secrecy for Urban's failure to make a successful case.

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