Staff of failed Christian college paid entitlements after intervention

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Former staff members of a failed Christian college, which specialised in educating ‘at risk’ youth, have been awarded entitlements totalling more than $250,000 following action by Consumer Protection.

The Catalyst School, operated by the OK Youth Services Inc. association, began in 2009 and membership was open to those who were involved in the local Christian community. School attendees included young people with behavioural problems referred by other schools or the justice system.

The incorporated association had leased premises in Joondalup and Wangara to operate separate boys’ and girls’ campuses. In October 2013 the school’s registration was cancelled and federal funding ceased, forcing the college to close in December 2013 with no cash or assets.

With no creditor of the college willing to pay for the appointment of a liquidator, a formal winding up of the association was not possible which prevented staff, mostly teachers, from claiming for lost wages, accrued leave and other unpaid employment benefits from the Fair Entitlements Guarantee (FEG), a scheme operated by the Federal Government.

Consumer Protection stepped in and took Supreme Court action to have a liquidator appointed which allowed applications to be made to FEG. A total of 23 claims have been approved to date with a total payout of $257,894.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said it is a rare action to take but necessary under the circumstances.

“The number of people affected and the amount of entitlements owed meant that we needed to intervene in this particular case to unlock the benefits under FEG, so the workers can get paid what they are rightfully owed,” Mr Hillyard said.

“Without this action the workers would have hit a legal wall and been left out of pocket, so we are pleased to have been able to help unlock the funds for those who were affected financially by the closure of this school.”

Information about the Fair Entitlements Guarantee is available at https://www.jobs.gov.au/fair-entitlements-guarantee-feg.

More information about associations is available on the Consumer Protection website www.consumerprotection.wa.gov.au. Enquiries can be made by email consumer@dmirs.wa.gov.au or by calling 1300 30 40 74.

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Media Contact: Alan Hynd, (08) 6552 9248 / 0429 078 791 / alan.hynd@dmirs.wa.gov.au  

Consumer Protection
Media release
31 Jan 2018

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