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BACK IN THE GAME: Riley Shelley has a $125,000 maintenance contract at Mosman Park Primary School. Photo: David Jo Bradley

Riley re-emerges to win contracts

SEVERAL weeks after leaving paint suppliers out-of-pocket at the completion of a Housing NSW project, Riley Shelley has re-emerged under new ownership to win $1.3 million worth of public school contracts in Western Australia.

Riley Shelley, now owned by national facilities manager Spotless Group, won the work through a state government tender for maintenance and minor works in local schools.

The state is administering funds under the federal government's Building the Education Revolution program, which is expected to inject $1 billion in maintenance and new capital works into WA public schools within two years.

In April, the listed Spotless Group bought the assets and naming rights of Riley Shelley - co-owned by Perth businessman Ian Riley - leaving the remains of the company to fall into administration.

Paint suppliers Taubmans and Dulux were owed several hundred thousands of dollars, which included an outstanding debt from supplying the paint for a Housing NSW project.

At the time, a Housing NSW spokeswoman said the department was required to make sure sub-contractors were paid, but not subsequent suppliers.

It is understood the Riley Shelley co-owners had agreed to sell the business to Spotless for $20 million, which would cover all its debts. Spotless then halved its offer as Riley Shelley, caught by the economic downturn, became a distressed asset, leaving a list of out-of-pocket contractors and suppliers.

Riley Shelley was formed in 1995 through a merger between Mr Riley's WA-based Woodbridge Riley and Associates and Mike Shelley's Queensland-based Shelley Contracting.

Riley Shelley has a $125,000 maintenance contract at Mosman Park Primary School (and $50,000 contract at the attached Mosman Park School for Deaf Children), among its 10 contracts.

Spotless won a further 27 contracts.

Earlier this month, the state government awarded building contracts for the construction and refurbishment of major infrastructure at state primary schools, such as libraries and multi-purpose halls.

John Holland (88 projects worth $140 million), Pindan Constructions (19 projects worth $38 million) and Arccon (14 projects worth $27 million) were big beneficiaries of the federal government initiative.

Treasurer Troy Buswell said in a prepared statement that the programs were a key part of the federal government's economic stimulus program through the rapid construction and refurbishment of school infrastructure.

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