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Indigenous-led maintenance company enters administration

David Prestipino -

Western Australia's volatile construction market has claimed more scalps, with administrators appointed to a contracting business within the Marawar group co-owned by Gerry Matera.

Civil West Construction (formerly known as Marawar Pty Ltd) was part of the maintenance arm of First Nations building company Marawar, which merged with MGroup's MConstruction.

Mr Matera is a prominent figure in the construction industry with a range of business interests, including catering outfit Gather Foods, security business Eon Protection and Boya Energy.

He said last year when he created Marawar - an entity half-owned by property brand Match, a division of M Group, and half by Mr Matera - that he hoped the company would boost the level of First Nations apprentices and tradies in the industry.

The Marawar group has more than 100 employees, with more than half of its workforce of First Nations heritage.

In 2022, Mr Matera won the emerging business excellence prize in the Australian Institute of Management WA's Pinnacle Awards.

It is understood Civil West Construction oversaw the defects liability period for MGroup's M/27 four-storey apartment development on Parry Street in Fremantle, which was built last year, with the company assuring apartment owners their defects would be rectified.

Mr Matera assumed the position of director of Civil West Construction alongside Michael Read on February 4 2019.

Recent developments in the industry have taken a toll on the company's operations, prompting the appointment of administrators Stephen Dixon and Brett Orzel of Hamilton Murphy Advisory on Monday, according to documents lodged with ASIC.

Mr Matera told National Indigenous Times on Thursday he was a long-time supporter of creating jobs for First Nations people and it was a tough time in the construction industry for everyone.

"Builders in Australia are currently facing unprecedented challenges with market conditions combined with housing shortages," he said.

"Four builders are going out of business per day in Australia, as has happened to more than 120 in WA in the past 12 months."

Civil West Construction has contracts for work with the Department of Finance, including as one of more than 140 companies in a panel for maintenance jobs on buildings across Perth and the Peel region.

Administrators have said they are confident the company can be restructured while it continues trading and eventually exit voluntary administration. A notice to creditors has been issued, and is due to be held on Thursday July 13.

Administrators could not confirm yet what was owed to creditors but said they were hopeful the company had a future.

"We are working with the directors on a restructuring proposal," they said.

Civil West Construction had been focused on maintenance work, while other units within the group are expected to continue trading.

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