Hundreds jobless as admin firm goes bust

THE administrative company behind Maroochydore-based national training organisation SmartCity Vocational College has gone bust, leaving more than 300 staff across Australia jobless and students in limbo about the future of their studies.

Worrells Solvency and Forensic Accountants partner Paul Nogueira this morning confirmed Worrells had taken charge of SC Admin Pty Ltd late on Friday night, after SC Admin - directed by James Spong - was placed into voluntary liquidation.

Mr Nogueira said staff had been notified this morning SC Admin had ceased trading and staff employment would not continue.

Staff were advised via a series of emails last week that SC Admin's future was in doubt after projected cash flow issues for the business as a result of changes to government funding for private training colleges.

The Daily can reveal a new company - SC Operations (AUST) Pty Ltd - was registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) on November 3, with James Spong listed as the director and sole shareholder. Mr Spong is also the director of SmartCity Vocational College Pty Ltd.

QUESTIONS: The SmartCity office at Maroochydore's First Ave.
QUESTIONS: The SmartCity office at Maroochydore's First Ave. Sunshine Coast Daily

Staff were advised last week the future of SC Admin was in doubt and they were asked to take paid or unpaid leave, with SmartCity's Facebook page advising campuses would recommence on January 23.

A SmartCity staffer was unaware of any SmartCity closures last week.

The college had been subject to a number of Australian Skills Quality Authority audits since last year.

James Spong, a Parrearra resident, has been unable to respond to the Daily's questions.

Glenn Spong, CEO of SmartCity and former University of the Sunshine Coast student, has also been unable to be contacted for comment. His Facebook and LinkedIn pages were disabled on Friday.

Mr Nogueira said it was the beginning of a long investigation process into SC Admin's records to determine assets and money owed.

He pointed out Worrells were only looking after the administrative arm and urged affected staff to contact Worrells at maroochydore@worrells.net.au or sunshinecoast@worrells.net.au.

He said affected students should contact SmartCity.

Mr Nogueira said staff owed entitlements should contact the Federal Employment Department to access the Fair Entitlements Guarantee.

Staff can lodge their claims at employment.gov.au/FEGonline or 1300 135 040.

Mr Nogueira indicated more than 300 staff had been affected by SC Admin entering into voluntary administration.

There are SmartCity campuses offering a range of courses in Armadale, Bundaberg, Cairns, Caloundra, Elizabeth, Fairfield, Gympie, Hervey Bay, Hobart, Inala, Ipswich, Kippa-Ring, Launceston, Maroochydore, Morayfield, Rockhampton, Toowoomba and Townsville.

 

BETTER DAYS: A SmartCity graudating class in 2015.
BETTER DAYS: A SmartCity graudating class in 2015. Contributed

More to come.



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