Govt job goes to head of liquidated firm

p2201-Brendan-PeterkinBy ERWIN CHLANDA

 

The NT Government has awarded a contract to an Alice Springs firm whose principal, Brendan Ross Peterkin (picture from his Facebook site), is linked to a company that was wound up in 2012 with debts of $1.5m, according to an Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) document.

 

The government assessor of the quotation, Paul Macmillan, says he was unaware of Mr Peterkin’s failed firm but the government’s compliance section had made the required investigation and had cleared the application.

 

The contract, for “Server Room Communications Cabinets for the new police station in the Greatorex Building,” went to “PDPL IT Pty Ltd, trading as Exectech”.

 

The failed company, with Mr Peterkin as a director, is Peterkin Davis Pty Ltd, also traded as Exectech.

 

Two of the major creditors of the failed company are the town’s two electrical wholesalers, MM Electrical Pty Ltd ($131,560) and Hagemeyer Australia (Lawrence & Hansen, $269,039.30).

 

p1947-ExectechEmployee Entitlements amount to half a million dollars. The Central Desert Shire is owed $60,000 and the Deputy Commissioner of Taxation, $200,000.

 

A string of local businesses are among the creditors, according to the ASIC document.

 

Photo: The liquidated firm’s premises in Whittaker Street in 2012.

 

MM credit manager Scott Fletcher said his company had written off Exectech’s debt, had closed its account and would not open another one for PDPL IT Pty Ltd.

 

Lawrence & Hansen’s SA/NT manager Michael Sparrow said he would not comment on dealings with individual customers, but those who do not have an account can buy for cash.

 

The Department of Corporate and Information Services said in an emailed statement: “A Request for Quotation (14-1550) [was made] to supply and install communications cabinets for the Alice Springs Police Station on 8 December 2014.

 

“Responses were received from three Alice Springs based companies. Quotes were assessed in accordance with the Northern Territory Government’s Procurement Framework and compliance checks of all respondents ASIC company registration and ABN status were conducted as part of the assessment process.

 

“No irregularities were identified through this compliance check.

 

“PDPL Pty Ltd trading as Exectech was the successful respondent and was notified of this on 24 December 2014. The value of this procurement is $46 000.”

 

The Alice Springs News Online telephoned Mr Peterkin for comment.

 

He confirmed his relationship with the company in liquidation, and the police station contract had gone to a new company with which he is connected.

 

We attempted to put further questions to Mr Peterkin but he said – words to the effect – it was not to his advantage to speak with us, and he hung up.

 

 

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9 Comments (starting with the most recent)

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  1. Sean
    Posted January 13, 2015 at 7:30 am

    Not surprising. Inexperienced try hards that have been around for five minutes. Now ministers including chief, are hiring the same mentality. I recently spent time in Canberra. I also caught up with some of the Fed members related to NT work, it’s clear our mob have no cred. At all.

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  2. Posted January 10, 2015 at 11:06 am

    @ Another Observer (Posted January 9, 2015 at 6:30 pm) – There’s no doubt that this kind of “recycling” of public works building projects is intended as a form of “economic stimulation”.
    It’s a hangover from the days of the Commonwealth era in the NT, when bureaucracy was in genuine control of Territory affairs. This really hasn’t changed under the period of self-government, it’s simply concealed under a thin veneer of the NT Government that masquerades as a “democracy”. There’s plenty of evidence for it.
    It’s interesting to look at the history of the Alice Springs Police Station. A new station was built on this site in 1970 (now the western end of the building). At that time the population of Alice Springs was over 8,000 with an annual growth rate of about 10 per cent (for several years the Alice was the fastest-growing population centre in Australia).
    The police station was expanded in 1989 (i.e. almost 20 years later) when the town’s population was about 21,000. By this time the town’s population growth rate was substantially reduced – the hey-day of big construction projects was over.
    However, crime in the Alice in the 1980s and 1990s rose to a phenomenal level – in 1990, for example, Alice Springs had the highest per capita murder rate of any place in Australia.
    Unsurprisingly, the Alice ended up with the largest number of police per head of population, too.
    A quarter of a century later we are faced with the prospect of a “justice precinct” in the middle of the CBD, with a significant expansion of the NT Police about to occupy the Greatorex Building in addition to its existing headquarters; plus the construction of a new Supreme Court building. Is this really justified?
    Our town’s population is 28,600 (as of 2012) so it’s barely grown in the past quarter century. More effective policing means that crime rates have been significantly reduced, including no homicides recorded in Alice Springs during last year.
    It begs the question in my mind whether the public expense for these expanded facilities for the law is truly warranted; and is a “justice precinct” really what we want to feature in the middle of our tourist town? What kind of image are we portraying of ourselves?
    In my previous comment I made reference to Groundhog Day, a comedy. Another work of “fiction” that relates well to the Northern Territory is George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four”.
    I perceive this dark story to be a caricature of a regime masterminded by bureaucracy. With our “justice precinct” about to dominate our town centre, Orwell’s story seems to be on the verge of even greater relevance for us.
    Discount the extremes of totalitarianism in the story, and you find a system of manipulation and misinformation that fits our own reality remarkably well.

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  3. Another Observer
    Posted January 9, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    @Alex Nelson: Well said that Man.
    I get the feeling that the numpties in the echelons of the public service think that this is how they stimulate the economy.
    It insults the intelligence of every net taxpayer in the town when we see stupid decisions made over and over again.

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  4. Posted January 9, 2015 at 10:27 am

    It seems to be all horses for courses around here. Let’s take this theme onto a larger scale, over a much longer period of time.
    The Alice Springs police are expanding their operations into the Greatorex Building. Well, just over a quarter century ago, the current Alice Springs Police Station was expanded to accommodate various police sections housed in other locations.
    The traffic section was previously located at the MVR, and the CIB (Criminal Investigation Branch) was located over at … the Greatorex Building!
    Chief Minister Marshall Perron, along with Southern Region commander Andy McNeill, did the honours for the official opening of the extensions to the Police Station (effectively doubling in size) in 1989.
    It’s perhaps worth mentioning that it’s just over 21 years since the release of the movie “Groundhog Day”, a comedy about a news weatherman in a small town who finds himself in a time loop, each day repeating the same events.
    That’s a work of fiction but Alice Springs is for real!

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  5. Surprised?
    Posted January 8, 2015 at 9:29 pm

    To Another Observer. You raise very good points. The government consults with businesses on procurement.
    They fly people to Alice Springs, invite some business representatives to a meeting, fly back to Darwin and promptly tick the box marked “consulted with local business,” put in their expense claim and go to lunch.
    That’s the crux of it.

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  6. Another Observer
    Posted January 8, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    “… It’s the not the first time nor does it seem the last time …”
    As the partner of a small business person who has operated throughout most states in Australia, in NZ and the USA I find it incredibly frustrating that when it comes to loosing money to bad debts, Alice Springs are the world champions.
    Don’t get me wrong, there are great businesses in this town who are operated by great business people – they are as good to staff members, suppliers, and the community in general; as they are to their customers.
    It’s a damn shame that the procurement departments at all levels of government and big business can’t seem to look outside of the old boys network.
    Whether it is flying in ex-employees or relatives of employees to do work that local firms / taxpayers / ratepayers can do, or procurement and government people being THAT stupid, that they think that sending maintenance work to not for profits, or production work to the prison is a good idea. It’s time that we demanded better.
    Remember the ol payroll tax – expand a not for profit or government department and you don’t get the tax. Expand a business – large or small and you increase the tax base.
    Also – aren’t there business representatives on the procurement boards – if they aren’t across the industry that you are awarding contracts on, then get some that are.
    It’s not rocket science, for goodness sake.
    For the number of damned public servants that this territory has, with pay and conditions that far outstrip those in the private sector – I would like to see the same expectations placed upon those on the public purse as those in private industry. Enough is enough.
    This country is paying $1Billion per MONTH in interest, add to that whatever we are in debt for the NT, and you have people that are making the WRONG decisions. #accountabilitynow!

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  7. Posted January 8, 2015 at 8:30 am

    It’s the not the first time nor does it seem the last time.
    If you remember Arrernte Council has been in administration at least twice, wiped off copious amounts of debt including to the Taxation Office and yet they are constantly given government work and much of this work is given outside the procurement process!
    There’s another one for Alice News to check out!

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  8. Surprised?
    Posted January 8, 2015 at 7:08 am

    It’s not really that surprising for the NT Government is it.
    They often mention due diligence amongst others, but when it comes to the NTG abiding by its own rules, well it’s a very different story.
    As someone once commented, if the Government had to succeed as a private business, it would never happen. (Look at PAWA?)
    It’s also disappointing that when this business went under, a lot of people were hurt financially, small people.
    So let’s support the business that went broke and hurt a lot of people.
    Makes perfect sense! (For the Government.)
    But, the government can do what they like. If businesses don’t comply, they will continue to source from interstate and never say anything.
    Suck it up!

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  9. Disillusioned
    Posted January 7, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    Where is the NT Government’s responsibility to protect local businesses from operators who cause harm?
    How can a tender be awarded to an individual with such a large unpaid debt?
    Why wasn’t this declared? If it was declared the procurement board has not met its duty of care to the community.
    If a declaration isn’t required, the procurement process is flawed.

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