By Jeremy Cook
Construction on the Stanthorpe Art Gallery and Library expansion has ground to a halt after contractors and Australian building giant St Hilliers entered voluntary administration.
The project was one of more than 20 put on hold across Australia after administrators WLP Restructuring were called in by St Hilliers to take charge of the group’s construction assets on Sunday, February 4.
In a statement, administrators said they had “secured and paused all works across St Hilliers’ 21 active construction site” while they undertook an urgent assessment of the businesses’ financial position and operations.
“As this assessment is completed, approximately 80 staff members will remain employed while 22 have unfortunately been made redundant,” the statement read.
The construction firm holds several contracts with the Department of Defence and is a major contractor of public works.
Southern Downs Regional Council awarded the group with a contract to complete the expansion of the Stanthorpe Library and Art Gallery in August 2022.
Gates to the construction site, located on Lock Street, have been locked with work paused pending talks with administrators.
“There are contract matters to work through with the builder, which [the] council will do,” council acting chief executive Leon Love said.
“While council remains under contract with the builder, careful considerations are being applied to contingency plans to ensure that any time in transition is minimised.
“Council is focused on the project’s timely completion and quality while ensuring local subcontractors are treated fairly.
“Regular updates will be made as we progress this matter.”
Glenn Livingstone of WLP Restructuring said administrators were “working closely with all stakeholders and staff in order to recommence project works at the earliest opportunity”.
“We are hopeful this can occur in the coming days and that the employment of as many people as possible is preserved.”