Hewatt Earthworks collapse keeps hurting

THE collapse of Canberra-based civil engineering company Hewatt Earthworks has far-reaching implications for one Bega Valley company. 

Hewatt went into voluntarily administration in May owing subcontractors in the ACT and South East millions of dollars. 

One of these subcontractors was Russell’s Earthmoving and Excavations of Jellat Jellat, a well-respected business, locally owned and operated for 30 years. 

The company was subcontracted to do work for Hewatt at the Boco Rock Wind Farm near Nimmitabel, the HMAS Albatross project in Nowra and other sites in Canberra. 

There are at least 30 subcontractors owed money from the HMAS Albatross project alone. 

Russell’s Earthmoving and Excavations was started by Laidley and Ellen Russell, with son Leon Russell now the manager.

Ms Russell said last week the company received a letter from administrator PPB Advisory advising Russell’s they would likely receive 4.47cents in the dollar on the money they are owed. 

If subcontractors accept this repayment offer they will still have to wait up to nine months to receive any money.

“It is devastating,” Ms Russell said.

“Hewatt had 90 days to pay invoices, 90 days in which we had already paid fuel and wages, and then they collapsed,” Ms Russell said.

“So that leaves us with nothing. 

“I read Bega Valley Shire Council could have been affected through the work Hewatt did on Merimbula Airport, but they were able to hold their payments as part of a contract.

“It doesn’t work that way for the little companies like us - we have to invoice and so you can get left in a position like this.

 “When these big companies collapse it’s everyone else down the chain that suffers, so many families who have to keep paying their bills.

“It’s just wrong,” she said.

There will be another creditors meeting held in Canberra on Friday.

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