Locals owed $200K from liquidation

MARYBOROUGH businesses have been left out of pocket almost $200,000 after Fraser Coast Meals On Wheels went into liquidation last month.

About 130 creditors from small businesses to wholesale suppliers have been short-changed, with reports that the organisation racked up bills of more than $15,000 with some local shops and even added to their tab a day before it was wound up.

According to preliminary information from liquidator Terry Rose, the organisation owes about half a million dollars, and the figure could rise.

Mr Rose, from insolvency accountants SV Partners, said the organisation owed $193,318 to trade creditors; $186,341 to the tax office; $92,238 in unpaid superannuation; and $27,555 in unpaid annual leave entitlements.

Further entitlements may be owed to the organisation's 30 staff who lost their jobs when the service went broke after a lengthy period of financial troubles.

The administration of Fraser Coast Meals On Wheels has been handed over to its Hervey Bay counterpart, while a team of volunteers is still producing and delivering meals from the Maryborough kitchen.

However, it is uncertain whether that arrangement will be able to continue, as the building is considered an asset of the collapsed organisation.

"The liquidators have agreed to continue this arrangement in the interim to ensure that the clients are continued to be serviced," Mr Rose said.

"However, the liquidators have a duty to realise the assets of the organisation for the benefit of its creditors."

He said a meeting of creditors would be held "in the near future", and details of the organisation's assets - including the building, cars, equipment, furniture and cash - would be revealed.

"We expect there will be a dividend to creditors, however we are unable to determine the quantum until such time as all claims are received from creditors and they are adjudicated on and all the assets have been realised," Mr Rose said.

Fraser Coast Meals On Wheels's former chair Anne Maddern told the Chronicle the financial problems first came to light in December last year, when it was discovered tax and superannuation had not been paid.