Lawyers for Dubbo Regional Council say that an application to wind-up the business is a last resort after a year of negotiations.
On Thursday night it emerged that council had lodged paperwork to dissolve the airline, which operates routes out of the city’s airport that fly to Brisbane and Melbourne.
JetGo managing director Paul Bredereck called the move “ethically inappropriate” and indicated attempts had been made to liaise with council, and later that evening Dubbo Regional Council mayor Ben Shields hit back, saying the move had been made with the backing of the entire council and that JetGo’s claims contained “factual errors”.
On Friday afternoon, Matthews Folbigg Lawyers released a detailed statement outlining a debt of $271,917.57 owed to council, the result of a dispute over the calculation of passenger taxes.
A hearing is set down for next month in the Supreme Court of NSW.
Below is the full statement:
“There is a debt due by Jetgo to Dubbo Regional Council and the Council has sought to recover that debt on behalf on the Dubbo Regional community. The outstanding debt being sought is currently $271,917.57.
“Council needs to act responsibly to recover amounts outstanding for ratepayers. Council has been actively communicating with Jetgo in respect of their arrears over 12 months in face to face meetings, phone meetings and through numerous correspondence.
“Council has gone to great lengths to try and work with Jetgo to manage their ever increasing debt owed to the community. This includes Council proposing a staged repayment plan for Jetgo to try helping the company get its arrears in order.
“Council organised a meeting with Jetgo in November 2017 in Brisbane to clearly outline Council’s concerns with the company’s increasing debt to the community. Unfortunately agreements made to address the outstanding debt have not been delivered on.
“Following months of ongoing direct negotiations with Jetgo, Council then issued a statutory demand in the first instance. Jetgo failed to comply with that statutory demand. With a clear responsibility to the community, Council has then taken this final step to lodge a winding up application in order to get a result for the community. The winding up proceedings are listed for 18 June 2018.
“Council’s support of Jetgo is clearly evident in the provision of 12 month fee free period that was provided for all Jetgo passengers fees for the Brisbane and Melbourne Route. This subsidy finished in July 2016 for the Brisbane route, and in October 2016 for the Melbourne route. There was no commitment from Council that any further subsidies would be provided. The 12 month subsidy provided to Jetgo was in line with what has been provided to other new airlines and in line with Council’s adopted revenue policy.
“Jetgo will only allow our community to travel their service if the passenger pays for the ticket before they fly. Councils arrangement with all airlines enabled them to pay after they have used Council facilities. Unfortunately Jetgo has not honoured such arrangements.
“Jetgo has expanded its services within Australia and overseas, whilst a substantial debt to the Dubbo Regional community has continually mounted. The Dubbo Dubbo Regional Council and community is not a bank for profit making organisations to take advantage of. Council takes very seriously the responsibility for seeking any funds owed to the community it serves.”