SENATOR Eric Abetz yesterday said he had been contacted by the former member for Indi Sophie Mirabella about the collapse of Bruck Textile Technologies.
The Department of Employment has since referred the company’s collapse to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
The federal employment minister made the revelation in the Senate in response to a question from Labor Senator Kim Carr, who was a minister when Lavington gearbox manufacturer, Drivetrain Systems International, went into administration in 2009.
Bruck’s assets have reportedly been bought for a token $1 by a new company, Australian Textile Mills, which was registered a month earlier by its principal shareholder, Philip Bart and chief executive Geoff Parker.
The corporate watchdog will investigate a “contrived business arrangement” to escape paying 60 sacked workers entitlements of almost $4 million.
Mrs Mirabella this week refused to say whether she had contacted Mr Abetz about the closure.
Senator Abetz said he agreed that talk of a token sale was an “alarming revelation”.
He said Mrs Mirabella had rung him expressing her “very real disappointment” and while he did not wish to prejudge, “on the face of it, things do look ugly”.
“That is why I have instructed my department to make representations to ASIC,” he said.
“We do have to establish the facts.
“Having said that, the initial reports are concerning to me and concerning to the former member for Indi, who rang me.”
Senator Abetz also said his staff had met the independent member for Indi Cathy McGowan about the Bruck situation late on Monday.