6 April 2023

Bega, Crookwell, Leeton projects hit as builder calls administrator in

| Sally Hopman
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Outside view of modern art gallery

An artist’s rendering of Bega’s new SECCA Gallery. The official opening has been put on hold after its builder, the Lloyd Group, went into voluntary administration. Photo: Supplied.

The official opening of the $3.5 million South-East Centre for Contemporary Art (SECCA) in Bega has been put on hold after its builder, the Lloyd Group, went into voluntary administration late last week.

SECCA, the long-awaited new arts space, is being built on the site of the former Bega Regional Art Gallery and was expected to open on 29 April with a packed schedule of exhibitions and programs.

But Bega Valley Shire Council was notified on Friday, 31 March, that Lloyd had entered voluntary administration.

Bega Council’s director community, environment and planning, Emily Harrison said work on SECCA had now paused while the administrator reviewed the project and determined the next steps.

“While the gallery is nearing completion, unfortunately this news means our community opening event, which was planned for 29 April, will be delayed,” Ms Harrison said.

“Once we receive a full briefing from the administrator and we know the impact on the completion of the build, we’ll be able to set a new date for the opening and update the community.

“Fortunately, no other Bega Valley Shire Council projects are affected.”

Man in front of painting

Bega’s SECCA Gallery director Iain Dawson. Grand plans for the official opening are now on hold. Photo: Supplied.

The Lloyd Group was working on several other southern NSW projects that have also been affected by the voluntary administration.

They include the construction of the Crookwell pool project, on which Lloyd was principal contractor.

“Sadly, Upper Lachlan, like several other councils and schools, has been caught up as yet another builder goes into administration,” Mayor Pam Kensit said.

“This is such a complicated area of commercial law and we’ve only just been notified, so we are still processing this news.”

Acting general manager Alex Waldron said she was also disappointed by the news.

“This is disappointing and extremely stressful for anyone caught up in it, but I want to assure the community that council is committed to finishing the project,” she said.

READ ALSO $3.5 million Bega gallery set to paint region as new arts hub

The council will work with the Lloyd Group’s appointed administrator, Deloitte, over the next few weeks to secure assets and find a path forward.

It is understood that the builder was also involved in the redevelopment of Leeton’s Roxy Theatre.

The Lloyd Group is understood to be involved in 59 building projects in NSW, with a staff of more than 200.

The group’s 2021-22 financial report showed while turnover rose to $275.7 million from $158.7 million, the profit amounted to less than a quarter of the previous year’s $2.1 million. The fall was primarily attributed to rain and flood events that led to procurement losses, project delays, insurance claims and subcontractor insolvencies, and affected several projects. The company specialises in state and local government work.

The administrator is expected to assess the company’s financial position on a project-by-project status.

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Robert Gottliebsen in The Australian of 7 April says a vicious campaign by the ATO is responsible for a large slice of the collapse of our building firms.

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