'Business as usual' for Cairns company which owes creditors half a million dollars

A long standing Cairns-based employment agency is voluntarily winding up, with staff and the ATO among creditors owed around $500,000.

Liquidators have been appointed after Northern Staff Pty Ltd, which trades as Staffing Solution, yesterday held a meeting during which a resolution for a creditor’s voluntary winding up was passed.

Such a move is made when a company becomes insolvent, however Northern Staff's spokesman Brian Forde has told Tropic it's just a formality and they will continue to operate.

“We’re reorganising the company itself and as such we are liquidating the company,” he said.

“It’s just a formality.

“It’s business as usual.”

ASIC documents obtained by Tropic show seven staff, including the director, are together owed close to $35,000 in annual leave entitlements.

The company also owes the ATO a staggering $426,000 and the Office of State Revenue another $32,000.

Taking into account its assets and debtors, the documents say there is a deficiency of $446,000.

The ASIC announcement comes less than two years after the Fair Work Ombudsman found the business had been underpaying staff, incorrectly paying a flat rate when penalty rates and shift allowances were due.

Director Franca Forde opened the business around 30 years ago as The Black & White Brigade, supplying staff for hotels and resorts.

It’s re-branded several times over the years, most recently in 2014.

Tropic has contacted the liquidator, Bill Karageozis of McLeod and Partners, for comment.