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Macquarie Drilling to pay former employees “every cent” owed

Wednesday, 14th January, 2015

Dr Michael Petrozzi Dr Michael Petrozzi

By Andrew Robertson

Former employees of Macquarie Drilling will get “every cent” owed to them, the company’s owner declared yesterday.

Michael Petrozzi also said he remained committed to Broken Hill and hoped to resurrect his crippled drilling company which went into voluntary administration last month.

Over 100 workers were notified on December 29 via internal emails they no longer had a job with Macquarie which operates in five states.

The husband of one former local employee told the BDT this week that staff were still owed thousands of dollars in unpaid wages and entitlements, and had not received superannuation contributions for 12 months.

In a notice of termination to staff, administrators Deloitte said it was too early to determine whether there would be sufficient assets to fully pay outstanding entitlements.

Dr Petrozzi yesterday acknowledged former and current staff were still owed entitlements and “we’ve never hidden from that”. 

But he said he was working on a proposal that would be put to creditors, including former employees, within about a week.   

“That proposal will be for all current and former staff to get every cent they’re owed whether its expenses, wages, back pay, superannuation,” he said.

“They will get every cent they are owed.

As for the outstanding money owed to businesses, the plan was also “to get as much as possible to creditors in a timely manner”.

Dr Petrozzi also told the BDT he wasn’t prepared to walk away from the business that just four years ago doubled its turnover from the previous year to $21 million.

He is still operating Macquarie under licence from administrators for what’s believed to be a fee of around $80,000 a week.

“The reason we have taken the licence on is we believe there’s a way to restructure the business and move forward.

“We’re very much committed to Broken Hill; we’re very much committed to our clients out there.”

He said he planned to put a proposal for a deed of company arrangement to administrators, who would also consider a partial sale of the business.

In the meantime, he has re-employed the majority of the staff who were made redundant, and said he could be in a position to hire more former employees in the future.

“There’s probably about 90 odd people on staff (and) a lot of those are still from Broken Hill and we’re trying to do our best to keep as many people employed as we can.”

Most of those re-employed were drillers and offsiders, as well as mechanics.

Dr Petrozzi cited a number of factors for the company getting into difficulty, including a general decline in mining exploration.

“In a declining market it makes it really hard. We’d taken two big losses in near on 12 months and recovering from that in a steady contracting market is really hard.”

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