Industrial Relations Minister Russell Wortley today refused to answer critical questions in Parliament by the Hon Rob Lucas MLC about the validity of charges laid against Ferro Con (SA) Pty Ltd.
Ferro Con (SA) Pty Ltd was the crane company involved in an incident at the Adelaide Desalination Plant which led to the death of a worker, and has been ‘in liquidation’ since April last year.
Under Section 471B of the Corporations Act approval of the Supreme Court or the Federal Court is required before legal action can be taken against a company in liquidation:
Stay of proceedings and suspension of enforcement process
While a company is being wound up in insolvency or by the Court, or a provisional liquidator of a company is acting, a person cannot begin or proceed with:
(a) a proceeding in a court against the company or in relation to property of the company; or
(b) enforcement process in relation to such property;
except with the leave of the Court and in accordance with such terms (if any) as the Court imposes.
Minister Wortley was asked whether SafeWork SA had complied with Section 471B and received appropriate Court approval, and also whether it was correct the insurance company for Ferro Con (SA) Pty Ltd and possibly other interested parties had advised SafeWork SA there was a problem with the validity of the charges.
“Minister Wortley refused to answer those questions and said he would take them on notice,” Mr Lucas said.
“Minister Wortley could not even answer what seems to be a relatively simple question of whether he had been advised of a problem or not!
“This issue is so important it is hard to believe Minister Wortley would not have been advised by SafeWork SA of any potential questions about the validity of the charges.
“There will be widespread community outrage if due to any error or inaction by the Minister and/or SafeWork SA, charges cannot be pursued against any company.”