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York Civil goes into voluntary administration

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UPDATED | The SA construction company behind some of Adelaide’s most significant infrastructure projects, including the East End tram extension, has gone into voluntary administration.

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The directors of York Civil this morning agreed to appoint independent financial advisory and restructure firm Ferrier Hodgson as voluntary administrators, assuming responsibility for the business and its assets.

Ferrier Hodgson partner Martin Lewis said the Adelaide-headquartered construction company would continue to work on ongoing projects while the business is reviewed.

York Civil partnered with Downer EDI Works as a joint venture to build the tram extension along North Terrace to the East End – which has been plagued by delays and faults – and is currently involved in the construction of the Torrens Road to River Torrens upgrade on South Road.

A creditors meeting will be held next Thursday.

“York Civil is an iconic business that undertakes engineering and construction projects for both government and private clients across defence, power, transport, resources, water and marine sectors,” Lewis said in a statement.

“Discussions are taking place with key stakeholders, including the company’s clients ahead of a creditors’ meeting on August 16.

“At this stage, the company will continue work on the contracts which are subject to the Administrators’ review.”

A spokesperson for York Civil said the company had 131 staff in South Australia, 32 in NSW, 19 in Western Australia and four in Queensland.

State Transport and Infrastructure Minister Stephan Knoll said the State Government had met all of its financial obligations to York.

“We’re here to make sure that to the greatest extent possible we can provide for the workers (and) make sure that taxpayers are protected,” he said.

He said the other partners in the Torrens-to-Torrens joint venture and the tram extension would take responsibility for the projects.

These partner companies, Knoll said, were large in size and there was no suggestion they wouldn’t be able to take on the extra burden to complete the projects.

While today’s announcement “did come as a surprise”, there had been some speculation about the company in recent weeks.

He added that driver training on the tram extension had re-commenced this morning but did not say when the services were expected to be open to the public.

Labor’s transport and infrastructure spokesman Tom Koutsantonis said the State Government should immediately announce new infrastructure projects.

“Labor warned there could be a valley of death in the construction industry under a Marshall Liberal Government,” he said.

“The Liberals cannot wait until the State Budget is handed down. New projects are desperately needed to provide a continuous pipeline of work for the construction industry.”

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