29 Apr 2009 questionsarchive

I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Consumer Affairs questions about Kleenmaid.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: Kleenmaid is a white goods company with its headquarters based in Maroochydore in Queensland, with a number of franchises around Australia. On 9 April, Kleenmaid went into voluntary administration, and Deloittes was appointed as administrator. It has been reported that some $27 million worth of orders are outstanding nationwide. It has also been reported that unsecure creditors (those who have prepaid or paid deposits on Kleenmaid goods) will not be considered as having any form of payment return and that employees and the secured creditors will have the first call on funds.

I have been contacted by a constituent who has been affected by this fall over. On 26 July last year, he purchased goods to the value of some $7,500, as part of a package of other goods. He did not receive those particular goods to the value of $7,5000, and he has now been informed by Deloittes that, as an unsecured creditor, he will not receive the goods and nor will his $7,500 be repaid. Yet, when he was paying upfront, as he was advised by Kleenmaid to do last year, some nine months before Kleenmaid went into receivership, he was advised that the franchise had insurance if anything went wrong. My questions are:

1. Is the minister aware of how many South Australians have been affected, and what is the total amount of either stock owed or outstanding funds? 2. What is the Office of Consumer and Business Affairs doing to help customers in this situation?

3. Why is there no information available on the OCBA website?

4. Has the government had any contact with the Queensland Office of Fair Trade, the minister Peter Lawlor MP or, indeed, ASIC and, if not, why not?

The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for State/Local Government Relations, Minister for the Status of Women, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Minister for Government Enterprises, Minister Assisting the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Energy) (14:33): I thank the honourable member for her most important question. Indeed, it is always very disturbing and distressing to see companies such as Kleenmaid go into receivership. A number of my family members have had Kleenmaid washing machines for just about all their life. Kleenmaid is a household name, so it is very distressing to see this turn of events.

I am happy to seek clarification, but my understanding is that this type of business situation is covered under the Corporations Act and is therefore the responsibility of the Attorney-General. As I have said, I am happy to clarify that, but it is my understanding that the Attorney-General is dealing with it, because these matters are dealt with under the Corporations Act. I will seek clarification, though, and bring back a response if I need to.