Government to investigate ABC Learning Centres collapse

Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard has asked forensic accountants from the insolvency firm PBB to examine the accounts of embattled childcare giant ABC Learning Centres as apart of a wider investigation into the collapse of the company.

Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard has asked forensic accountants from the insolvency firm PBB to examine the accounts of embattled childcare giant ABC Learning Centres as apart of a wider investigation into the collapse of the company.

Gillard says the forensic accounts will be “embedded” with the team from insolvency firm McGrathNicol that is running the company in its capacity as receiver.

“This work is essential and necessary in order to determine the best way forward for all ABC centres.”

The Government and the receivers aren’t the only ones looking closely at ABC’s affairs. Corporate watchdog the Australian Securities and Investments Commission has also stepped up its investigation into the complex web of inter-company transactions within ABC.

ASIC has already interviewed former chief executive Eddy Groves and chairperson Sallyanne Atkinson and is expected to interview more executives as its investigation continues.

Meanwhile, receiver Chris Honey from McGrathNicol was written to parents to reassure them the centres will remain open in the short term and urge them to enrol children for next year.

“We are doing everything we can to ensure that your child will have a childcare place in the new year. Therefore, you should continue to enrol your child as part of the normal process, and ABC will be in touch with you soon regarding your child’s enrolment,” he wrote.

The receiver is currently not involved in a sales process for ABC, although a register of interest has been established for potential buyers of all or part of the company.

Industry lobby group Childcare Associations Australia says it has received about seven proposals from groups interested in buying about 50 childcare centres.

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