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Elite failure hits $750,000 and counting

The State Liberals have been contacted by another South Australian firm financially damaged by the failure of the State Government to properly vet Victorian company Elite Systems before providing them with a five year contract to erect scaffold platforms at the Clipsal 500.

“Access Hire SA provided forklifts, telehandlers and boom lifts to Elite Systems to enable them to put up and pull down spectator grandstands at this year’s Clipsal 500 event and are now $125,000 out of pocket for their trouble,” said Shadow Minister for Tourism David Ridgway.

“I am now aware of four South Australian companies owed some $725,000 as a consequence of the work they did to ensure the Clipsal 500 event could go ahead earlier this year. “I am also aware that concerns about the financial viability of Elite Systems were apparent well before this year’s race and should have been fully investigated by the Weatherill Government.

“As a consequence I have written to the South Australian Small Business Commissioner to request an immediate investigation of the process by which Elite Systems was awarded the contract and the Weatherill Government’s obligations to compensate the affected small businesses.”

The Small Business Commissioner is charged with:

Receiving and investigating complaints by or on behalf of small businesses regarding their commercial dealings with other businesses, State or Local government agencies or bodies.

“The Weatherill Government is refusing to compensate these South Australian companies despite boasting that this year’s Clipsal 500 delivered an economic impact of $65.6 million and the huge national and international exposure the event generates for SA,” said Mr Ridgway.

“It is unconscionable for the Weatherill Government to reap the economic benefits from Clipsal 500 whilst leaving small South Australian businesses to carry the economic burden of the failure of its due diligence on Elite Systems.

“Just 5 months after the Weatherill Government entered into the contract with Elite Systems the business went into external administration owing South Australian small businesses at least $725,000.

“It is totally unacceptable that a South Australian small business has been left high and dry as a result of SATC incompetence.”