PM Scott Morrison has said that the federal government is taking reports of ‘Metricon Homes’ money struggles very seriously, as the company remains steadfast it is “business as usual”.
Metricon Homes, Australia’s biggest home builder, currently has 4000 houses under construction across Australia’s east coast. They also hold a $12 million contract to build social housing in Victoria.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Morrison said government ministers were working with Metricon to ensure homes were built, sites remained open, and the company was able to get through its difficulties.
He stressed that while the company was not in liquidation or experiencing anything of a similar nature, both the Victorian and federal governments took the matter seriously because of Metricon’s large portfolio.
“It is our hope that they will be able to work through any challenges they may have – that is a matter for the company and obviously they will have more to say about that at the appropriate time,”Mr Morrison said.
“There (is) over $2 billion worth of housing work being done (by) Metricon and that is people’s dreams, their homes.”
Mr Morrison said the government would look carefully at issues around building supply costs when it came to Metricon and other businesses.
Metricon officials have assured the Victorian government the company is strong and viable despite reports it is on the verge of collapse.
The company met with state treasurer Tim Pallas on Thursday morning and chief executive Peter Langfelder said it was business as usual.
“We’re always in contact with government,” he told reporters.
“We had fantastic engagement with them. Very positive for us and generally for the industry,”said Mr Langfelder.
Mr Langfelder said the company had paid all of its traders and suppliers in full and on time, and the business had the support of its banks.
The state government will continue to talk to Metricon and other companies in the sector about factors affecting the industry, Mr Pallas said.
“We understand the pressure on builders on the eastern seaboard due to increases in costs, and the impacts this is having on the construction industry and residential clients,” the treasurer told AAP in a statement.
Mr Langfelder noted Metricon, which employs about 2500 staff across Australia’s east coast, was still reeling following the sudden death of founder Mario Biasin.
The 71-year-old died unexpectedly on Monday, leaving behind his wife and four children.
“This is an extremely difficult time for our business… so we’re dealing with the grief,” Mr Langfelder said.
“But our business has been very strong for 45 years and will continue to for a long, long time to come.”
Master Builders Victoria was “very optimistic” about the future of Australia’s largest home building company. Chief executive Rebecca Casson said it was incumbent on everyone in the industry not to join in the rumour narrative.
But Shadow Treasurer David Davis said high taxes and regulations for Victoria’s construction sector was not helping businesses like Metricon.