Liquidators in control of the iconic Pialligo Estate farm, tourism and hospitality business have issued a statutory report to creditors following a three-month investigation into the company's affairs.  

The report – which has been lodged with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) outlines the outcomes and findings of the liquidators’ investigations to date into the company’s financial affairs.  

The report provides creditors with a brief history, the liquidators’ view on what happened to the business, and an assessment of the company’s assets, liabilities, and transactions. It also provides a view on the company’s solvency and whether further investigations are required. 

RSM Australia Partners Frank LoPilato and Jonathon Colbran were appointed as liquidators of Pialligo Estate Operations Pty Ltd on 8 April 2023. 

Mr LoPilato said the report clarified that Pialligo Estate Operations was primarily responsible for running the Estate’s farm, tourism and hospitality business and did not own the land on which the business operated.   `

“Therefore money that will be realised through the current property sale – which is being handled by the mortgagee who took possession of the land on 29 March – is not available to creditors of Pialligo Estate Operations.’’

Report outcomes and findings

Employees: the liquidators have verified approximately $883,000 worth of employee entitlements (excluding superannuation) for 119 staff members under the Fair Entitlements Guarantee (FEG) Scheme.This scheme is a federally funded safety net that enables eligible employees of a business in liquidation to claim certain categories of unpaid employment entitlements. To date, 61 former employees have lodged claims under the scheme. 

Assets: Pialligo Estate Operations had limited assets once the business ceased trading, other than sundry building equipment, such as kitchen equipment, which has limited commercial value on its own.  

Creditors: 320 unsecured creditors, including the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), suppliers and customers, are owed approximately $8.5 million (this does not include employee entitlements listed above or secured creditors). The ATO is the largest unsecured creditor with $4.1 million owing. Based on the lack of company assets, the liquidators have determined at this stage that creditors will not receive a dividend.  

Company failure: Based on the liquidators’ investigations and the advice of the Company Director, Pialligo Estate Operations ultimately failed as a result of the company’s inability to sustain ongoing trade losses or pay its tax debts – both of which were exacerbated by issues such as COVID-19, staffing shortages and fires which damaged the Estate’s event and dining facilities in 2016 and 2017.  

Further investigations: Based on the liquidators’ investigations to date, they have formed the view that the company exhibited indicators of insolvency from at least 30 June 2018. They will provide their preliminary findings on this and other matters to ASIC for the regulator’s review and determination of any next steps.

Mr LoPilato said the Company Director had been assisting the liquidators with their investigations over the past three months. ``

While the liquidators are only investigating the affairs of Pialligo Estate Operations, we have noted that this company is one of a number of entities within the Pialligo Estate Group of companies,’’ he said. ``

"To provide an informed opinion on the nature of any transactions that occurred between Pialligo Estate Operations and these companies, further investigations would be required, and a reconciliation of all company accounts undertaken which would require funding from creditors.’’ 


RSM Australia has established the following contact points for creditors:

Staff ­– [email protected]  
Customers and suppliers – [email protected]  
Phone: (02) 6217 0246

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