Moruya business Ultimate Campers was achieving Department of Infrastructure milestones as late as June 2018, despite going into voluntary administration on October 10.
In February, the business was approved to receive $758,000 from the federal government in periodic payments as part of a Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Packages grant. In June the company received $20,000 of the total.
The February announcement said the funding was to develop curved composite panels and design lightweight campers.The Department of Infrastructure said the payment of $20, 000 was: “Made to cover actual eligible expenditure related to preliminary cost analysis, concept development and production planning.” Administrator Tim Heesh said he had “not yet reviewed” what the $20,000 was spent on.
Grant funds are delivered piecemeal. Payments are made after milestones laid out in the funding agreement between the government and the business are met.
A Department of Infrastructure spokesperson said the agreement with Ultimate Campers was “normal”.
“Payments are made when the grant recipient submits a report that demonstrates the achievement of each milestone,” they said.
“For the Off Road Camping Accessories Pty Ltd project, the disbursement of funds proceeded as per normal. One payment of $20,000 was made in June 2018.”
Mr Heesh confirmed the business had received the payment.
“What has been advised to me, however, by the officers of the company, is that only a small portion had been claimed on the grant (circa $20,000) and that the company had perhaps outplayed approximately $40,000 itself, as the project was very much in its early stages,” he said.
Gilmore MP Ann Sudmalis said she felt for employees and their families – but had no comment on what would happen to the funding she announced just eight months ago.
“I’m disappointed at the news that it has gone into voluntary administration,” Ms Sudmalis said.
“My thoughts are with the dozens of employees and their families in Moruya who now have an uncertain future.”
Labor candidate for Gilmore, Fiona Phillips, said the funds should be given to another local project.
“There should definitely be an investigation into it,” she said.
“If the money hasn’t been allocated, it should be reissued to another project. Hope House is always crying out for funds.”