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Anger over Ararat Wind Farm payments

A Ballarat contractor has been left thousands of dollars out of pocket after Ararat Wind Farm concreting company SMB Civil went into administration in January.

Engineering company Downer employed SMB Civil for concreting work at the Ararat Wind Farm project.

Kirby Concrete Company’s Travis Kirby said he was still owed more than $10,000 for work.

Mr Kirby, who runs a concrete pumping business in Ballarat, said smaller sub-contractors were too often left unpaid when companies went into administration.

“The thing that annoys me is they spruik how good the wind farm is but aren’t paying contractors,” he said.

“I may as well stay in bed rather than go and work for free.

“If I don’t get paid, I don’t care whose fault it is, do I get a plaque on the side of the wind farm saying ‘good on you Trav’?”

“I may as well stay in bed rather than go and work for free – Kirby Concreting Company’s Travis Kirby”

Mr Kirby said there were a number of sub-contractors in western Victoria who had not been paid for the work.

Adelaide-based administrator Clifton Hall has met twice with creditors, on January 18 and February 10, to discuss the liquidation of SMB Civil.

A notice published on the Australian Securities Investment Commission website said the purpose of the second meeting was to receive a report on SMB Civil’s financial circumstances.

Creditors were also to decide if the company should be wound up.

Clifton Hall’s Daniel Lopresti said he was not in a position to give any more information.

“Obviously we are in discussions with the head contractor about that matter,” he said.

“We are hoping there will be a possible resolution, but we are still working through the legal ramifications of it all.”

Mr Kirby said he would reconsider doing large concreting projects in the future.

“I have done jobs where you think you would be pretty right, but the people they employ to do the job don’t pay the contractors,” he said.

“I have just had phone calls from the contractors doing the Kiata Wind Farm, and they wanted me to quote on that, and I said I am not doing that because I have no confidence getting paid.

“I worked 20 years to get to where I am, then I start going for big jobs where you can earn some money, and they are the ones where they don’t pay you.”

Other sub-contractors also said they had not received money from SMB Civil, but asked not to be named.

Wind farm operator RES Australia referred questions about contractors being paid to Downer.

Downer did not respond to requests for comment.