The Government’s lack of “backbone” on environmental issues and cancellation of green schemes cost ASX-listed integrator, UXC Group (ASX:UXC), around $30 million, according to UXC finance director, Mark Hubbard.
The decision to trust the green-friendly election promises was a mistake, Hubbard said. The company was lodging a “multi-million dollar” compensation claim against the Gillard Government.
“A lot of it has to do with certain contractual arrangements that we did in fact have in place with them to build infrastructure to deliver their programs,” he told ARN. “Those programs were cancelled as what they termed ‘executive convenience’.
“But when they do so the precedence is they have to pay compensation – they can’t just terminate and walk.”
Hubbard said the company had lost around $30m over two financial years building the infrastructure and systems to support the Government’s Green Loans and Green Start programs.
“If you’d asked me [if it was a mistake to invest based on the Government schemes] three years ago I would’ve said this is a brave new economy and we’re making a lot of money and it looks sustainable because it’s the right thing to do for the planet,” Hubbard said.
“If you ask me now I say yes because the Government was unable to stick to the policy initiatives it announced and we built a business for the long term that unravelled very, very quickly and cost us a lot of money.”
The finance director said he’d heard of other companies getting smaller amounts of compensation for investing in certification and education related to the cancelled schemes. But he added the company was well-equipped and ready to take the matter to court if necessary.
“It’s worth enough for us and the merits in the strength of our case are there according to our in-house counsel,” he said. “If it has to go to the courts I imagine we would probably take it that far.”
According to a statement from Parliamentary Secretary, Mark Dreyfus, two industry assistance schemes established on December 21 would help companies affected by the program cancellations.
"The...Financial Assistance Scheme and the Training Assistance Scheme...have been designed to provide appropriate support," he said. "It is not appropriate to comment on any possible individual claims."