6 April 2023

Local contractors 'to be paid' as Roxy Theatre builder goes into administration

| Oliver Jacques
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Roxy Theatre front on shot

The Roxy Theatre redevelopment has hit another roadblock. Photo: Oliver Jacques.

The much anticipated $11 million redevelopment of Leeton’s Roxy Theatre is now uncertain after the project’s principal contractor, Melbourne-based construction firm Lloyd Group, went into voluntary administration.

In 2019, a planned revamp of the iconic 1930-built art deco community theatre was announced, which was to provide better disability access, an enhanced foyer, two cinemas and a performing arts school. It was scheduled for completion this year, but that now seems unlikely to happen.

“Leeton Shire Council has been telephonically advised at 11:30 am that the Lloyd Group has gone into voluntary administration at 7 am this morning,” the council said in a statement published on Friday 31 March.

“Deloitte has been appointed as the administrator and will be in touch with council over the coming days on next steps.

“To date the Lloyd Group has only been paid for work completed that has been independently certified.”

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Deloitte partner Sam Marsden said: “Like others in the construction sector, and despite significant effort, Lloyd Group has been unable to overcome increasingly challenging circumstances over recent months that have eroded project margins.”

Some 59 building projects across NSW and Victoria are in limbo as a result.

Deloitte will now undertake an assessment of the company’s financial position and project-by-project status, initiate communication with project stakeholders, and commence an accelerated sale process.

Leeton mayor Tony Reneker has pledged to look after locals impacted by the shock decision.

“We have only spent money on work that has already been done. We guarantee that all current invoices for local contractors will be paid. We will keep the community informed as developments occur,” he told Region.

Inside of the construction site

The Roxy redevelopment has had funding issues. Photo: Leeton Shire Council.

The redevelopment project has long been hampered by a funding shortfall, with the Federal Government contributing less than was originally hoped it would provide. Mayor Reneker said there was a chance the Federal Government may rejig their Building Better Regions Fund program, which provides investment for rural infrastructure. But that’s a battle to be fought at a later date.

“At the moment, we are concentrating on negotiating with Lloyds, that’s our main priority,” he said.

At the Leeton Shire Council monthly meeting in February 2023, it was confirmed the total estimated cost of the project would be $11,437,148. Over half of this (54 per cent) would be funded via State and Federal Government grants, while the council itself would cover 44 per cent of the cost, with the remaining 2 per cent paid for through fundraising by the volunteer-based Roxy Redevelopment Committee.

On Tuesday, Mayor Reneker also said it was likely scheduled community site tours of the redevelopment would now not go ahead.

But his reassuring words to local businesses means they are likely to avoid the dire situation confronting Wagga tradies who helped build a government social housing dwelling on 16 Spring Street, which was delayed when the principal contractor Matrix Group Co went into administration in 2021.

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The units were eventually completed in mid-2022, but the NSW Government has continued to refuse to pay subcontractors left shortchanged by Matrix.

Oasis Scaffolding and Bricklaying ($90,000), Wagga’s AC Electrics ($64,000), Plaster Pros Wagga ($55,000) and New-Crete Concreting ($28,000) have all told Region they have been waiting more than 12 months for large sums of money owed on the project.

While the government agency that chose Matrix – the NSW Land and Housing Corporation – has refused to answer further questions on the matter, Leeton Shire Council has vowed to keep the public informed on the Roxy Theatre.

“Once council understands the full situation a further statement will be provided,” the council said.

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