Workers wait to be paid as $10 million in equipment sold off

MORE than $10 million worth of earthmoving equipment previously owned by Bachmann Plant Hire was sold off, with workers expected to receive their entitlements by the end of next month.

The auction, held by asset remarketing company Pickles, attracted about 300 people to the West Ipswich site on Wednesday.

The Ipswich business operated for more than 50 years before it was put into administration in September.

Insolvency firm Jirsch Sutherland was appointed to parent company MRS Services Group and about 70 people lost their jobs.

Pickles mining division general manager Steve Wall said everything up for auction on the day was sold with a total value of more than $10 million.

Items up for grabs included 28 scrapers, 14 track dozers, 15 articulated dump trucks, 10 compactors, five graders and seven hydraulic excavators.

"We sold 514 lots," he said.

"We had 650 registered buyers on the day from all around Australia and New Zealand.

"Two units were sold to Malaysia online. The interest has been very, very strong. We had a lot of interest online and a lot of people in the yard. It was a strong sale."

 

Former workers from Bachmann Plant Hire Paul Smith , Jeff Lejeune, Lee Geddes, Riki Haswell, Dools Carson and Michael Wyatt. Photo: Cordell Richardson
Former workers from Bachmann Plant Hire Paul Smith , Jeff Lejeune, Lee Geddes, Riki Haswell, Dools Carson and Michael Wyatt. Photo: Cordell Richardson

 

A spokesperson for Jirsch Sutherland said the equipment was sold last year.

"Jirsch Sutherland is hopeful that the major secured creditor for Bachmann will be paid out in full by the end of February 2020, with priority employee entitlements flowing to Bachmann employees by the end of March 2020," they said.

Former workers expressed anger and frustration at the demise of the long-running family business and said it had gone downhill after it was purchased by MRS in 2016 for $13.4 million.

The business was started by Lloyd Bachmann in 1965 and taken over by his son Greg.

Michael Wyatt worked for the business for 21 years and has found a job in Lismore.

He said a lot of former employees had gone through the Fair Entitlements Guarantee process as instructed but he was still waiting to be paid his entitlements.

"Most of the blokes have got jobs," he said.

"I'd say maybe about 60 per cent but that's a wild guess.

"A lot of blokes are doing fly-in-fly-out work."

"We've all had to move on with our lives. Some of us haven't.

"Some have found it easy to find work but some haven't."