Travel agency collapse: grey-headed nomads stranded

ANOTHER travel agency has bitten the dust leaving scores of grey-headed nomads stranded on the tarmac.

Fortitude Valley-based All Your Travel Pty Ltd, formerly trading as the Travel Team Over 50s, is being wound up owing about 100 customers an estimated $600,000.

Things are getting tough in the travel business with the failure of Bestjet, an online budget airfare retailer, in December.

Travel Team, run by Perry Morcombe, had operated under various business names including Senior Holiday Travel and International Travel Team.

Liquidator Bill Cotter, of Robson Cotter Insolvency Group, has told creditors that the company's cash flow position was deteriorating for some time amid a downturn in the travel industry and increased competition.

Cotter tells your diarist that people who had booked with the firm should first check whether the money had been passed onto tour operators or other providers.

Failing that they could check with their insurance company or credit card provider to see if funds could be recouped.

Peter Leach, who has booked an April overseas holiday with Travel Team, became suspicious when the firm's phone went unanswered and the website went down.

Leach eventually contacted his tour operator and was relieved to find that the money had been transferred to them before the company collapsed. Other are not so lucky.

"No attempt was made by Travel Team to advise us of the situation, and there must be quite a few people with trips booked, who have been left in ignorance," says Leach.

Paul Molony tells City Beat he is owed about $2000 for a deposit on a European holiday but many others are worse off. According to a creditor's list Molony has seen, some people are owed upwards of $20,000.

TONY'S STAYING PUT

BRISBANE Markets has vehemently denied chatter around Rocklea that chairman of 16 years Tony Joseph may soon be heading for the exits.

One group of investors pushing for Joseph to spend more time at home is VGI Partners, who six months ago called for him to stand down.

At the time VGI, which attempted a takeover of the markets in 2015 and is now its biggest independent shareholder, said "it's time for Tony Joseph to step down and pass the ball to someone with fresh ideas and a more modern approach".

 

Illustration of Tony Joseph by Brett Lethbridge.
Illustration of Tony Joseph by Brett Lethbridge.

 

One name whispered as a possible replacement was producer trader and now Winx co-owner Peter Tighe, who has been on the board for 20 years himself.

Tighe told City Beat yesterday that he was not being considered for the role and "it was the first he had heard of the idea."

Tighe sold his business at the Brisbane Markets in June 2016 to a New Zealand group but remains involved in its operations.

Brisbane Markets chief executive Andrew Young says Joseph is not going anywhere. "The issue has not even been discussed. Tony will be continuing as the chair of BML with the unqualified support of the board," Young says.

Joseph was not available for comment.

HOT AND HEAVY

THINGS are getting very heavy metal over at Brisbane mining company Metallica Minerals. You might recall a big broom was put though the boardroom last week with managing director Simon Slesarewich and fellow directors Michael Hansel and Alan Evans shown the door after a shareholder revolt, partly over delays in bringing its Urquhart bauxite project near Weipa to production. The coup saw the appointment of company founder Andrew Gillies, Scott Waddell and Theo Psaros as directors.

Psaros, who is now chairman of the company, informed the ASX on Wednesday that Slesarewich's employment has been suspended pending a review into the "administration, management and corporate costs" and reasons for the delay to the Urquhart project." Psaros says it's expected the review will take a number of weeks and Slesarewich will continue to be remunerated in accordance with his employment contract during the review period. Slesarewich yesterday declined to comment on his suspension.