Builder Peter O’Brien has say on debts

BUILDER Peter O’Brien has blamed a Sydney developer not paying him about $5 million as the “initial and direct cause” of his company going into voluntary administration.

CONCERN: Peter O'Brien.

CONCERN: Peter O'Brien.

Peter O’Brien Constructions of Blayney is owed $12 million by debtors but also owes creditors $5.7 million.

Mr O’Brien told Fairfax Media his woes stemmed from non-payments and an under-assessment of claims by the developer for works on an apartment project in Sydney.

He said he had also “reluctantly” helped fund the project.

Mr O’Brien claimed in a separate matter, government organisation Defence Housing Australia [DHA] owed him “in excess of $3 million” for work on DHA properties.

DHA has been named by the administrator, Veritas Advisory, as one of “three major debtors of the company”, but DHA disputes the amount claimed.

Mr O’Brien said he had been unable to pay sub-contractors and suppliers because of the debts.

He said it had come at a tough time for his family with his mother battling cancer and his wife, Melissa, pregnant.

“We are doing everything possible to assist administrators to recover the debts to see sub-contractors and suppliers paid,” he said.

“We are expecting our second child later this year and we are having to sell all our assets [including their house and cars] to pay sub-contractors and have to start over again.”

He said most of his creditors related to projects in Sydney and Canberra.

DHA managing director Jan Mason said Peter O’Brien Constructions was the contractor for two housing developments at Moncrieff, ACT and Googong, NSW.

“DHA in good faith made progress payments to Peter O’Brien Constructions to meet its obligations under the contracts,” she said.

However, Ms Mason said an issue arose over payments to sub-contractors and “DHA took steps to address this”.

“Since learning of this situation we have been attempting to engage with all relevant parties in an open and transparent manner.

“We don’t owe Peter O’Brien $3 million.

“We will continue to use our best endeavours to resolve these issues, with due consideration to all parties.”