A Hewatt Earthworks scraper onsite at the Majura Parkway earlier this year. Photo: Melissa Adams
Creditors owed money by Hewatt Earthworks, the construction company contracted to work on the $288 million Majura Parkway project, have voted to enter a Deeds of Company Agreement rather than pursue liquidation favouring a greater certainty of return.
Alan Walker from PPB Advisory, the firm that will now work as the administrators of the deed, said a majority of creditors preferred the arrangement as it provided assurances "they wouldn't normally receive through liquidation".
"This option provided them [creditors] with certainty of timing of a dividend and a greater certainty that money will be available compared to a liquidation process," he said.
"Under the terms of the deed, the directors will make an initial payment of $350,000 within 4.5 months with another additional payment in 9 months."
Mr Walker said PPB Advisory would act as the deed administrators and distribute funds accordingly to creditors.
"Our next job is to work out how much money each individual creditor is owed," he said.
In early July, PPB Advisory commissioned Slatterys to dispose of the majority of Hewatt's heavy equipment fleet in an auction that yielded around $9 million; however the amount of money available to unsecured creditors is around $700,000.
With the company no longer in voluntary administration, Hewatt Earthworks director Geoff Hewatt has responded to a number of workplace incidents on the Horse Park Drive construction site as detailed in documents obtained under freedom of information laws.
"We must report near misses and reportable incidents so these incidents can be looked at and followed through to prevent them from happening again," he said.
Mr Hewatt did not dispute that the incidents occurred but said they were handled according to established policies and in cooperation with Worksafe ACT. Mr Hewatt said the company took their duty of care to the public and to all employees and contractors very seriously.
"We were out there for nearly two years on that project and in those two years the incidents reported were very minor compared to those on other sites".
ACT WorkSafe Commissioner Mark McCabe said the incidents, which included a man running over his own foot with remote controlled post-driver, were minor and common occurrences on construction sites.
"The type of work Hewatt were doing was rather dangerous dealing with heavy equipment so it's not out of context to see some incidents reported."
According to Mr Walker, once the arrangements have been finalised, which he expects will take between nine and 12 months, the management of the company will be returned to the directors, "free of liability", describing the process as a "restructuring of the business".
The Deeds of Company Arrangement was approved at a meeting in Canberra on July 25.
- with Kate Smith