A south-west company has closed owing about $1 million, leaving 27 workers without jobs.
Administrators were appointed to Terang-based McVilly Timber on Monday, closing the company, which has operated for 42 years.
Marketing and communications director Kim Lovely, from administrator PPB Advisory, said about 80 creditors were owed $1 million.
The shutdown came after the Australian Taxation Office commenced debt recovery proceedings for $700,000, the administrator said.
McVilly Timber, operating under the company name of Mount Edisar Pty Ltd, has a timber treatment plant at Terang, branches at Timboon, Mumbannar and Bungaree, and an equestrian centre at Winchelsea.
Ms Lovely said 27 workers were made redundant and a small number retained on a casual basis.
“We will be selling the assets of the business to pay the employee entitlements in full,” she said.
A source told The Standard that staff were informed of the closure, and subsequent job losses at a meeting in Terang on Monday afternoon.
“They knew nothing about it until 2pm on Monday. They were told then and there that they were closed and from 2pm they were shut down,” she said.
Corangamite Shire mayor Jo Beard was disappointed to hear of the job losses. She said the closure would have a flow-on impact across the south-west.
“We’d be concerned about any job loss and when it comes in an industry such as McVilly Timber, they’re relied upon by so many businesses, particularly in agriculture,” Cr Beard said.
“They are relied upon locally and a lot of the impact is going to be felt across our industries.”
Former Corangamite Shire mayor and long-time Terang resident Chris O’Connor was shocked to hear of the business’ closure.
“I don’t know the circumstances obviously but employment in the area is really important,” he said.
“Employment’s really vital to smaller towns. If that many people have been impacted, whether they’re permanent or part-time, it impacts on the whole community.”
He said it was sad that such a “well established and long-time business” had been placed into administration.
The administrators are urging creditors to register their claims before a meeting in Geelong on February 23.
McVilly Timber was founded by Barry McVilly in 1975. It was sold in July 2014 to a group of investors for $2.15 million before he died aged 76 in December, 2015.