Midcoast Trucks considers legal options after MidCoast Council decision to buy the Masters Taree site

Midcoast Trucks executive general manager, Steven Vorgias is considering legal options in the wake of MidCoast Council's decision to purchase the Masters site in Taree.

Midcoast Trucks executive general manager, Steven Vorgias is considering legal options in the wake of MidCoast Council's decision to purchase the Masters site in Taree.

Midcoast Trucks is “considering its legal options” in response to the MidCoast Council decision on November 2 to purchase the former Masters site on Manning River Drive in Taree.

The Macksville-based business is Australia’s largest integrated trucking solutions provider and its executive general manager, Steven Vorgias is in the throes of lobbying MidCoast councillors to rescind the decision made at the closed extraordinary meeting of council.

More than 100 new jobs within three years is part of the plan Mr Vorgias says that he pitched to MidCoast Council’s senior economic development and planning staff and alleges: “There was no communication from MidCoast Council that they were in negotiations to purchase.”

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Midcoast Trucks is Australia’s largest integrated trucking solutions provider. The Macksville-based business was seeking to expand its business with the purchase of the Masters Taree site.

Midcoast Trucks is Australia’s largest integrated trucking solutions provider. The Macksville-based business was seeking to expand its business with the purchase of the Masters Taree site.

“Council was aware that Midcoast Trucks was to purchase the former Masters building,” Mr Vorgias said. 

“This is devastating news for Midcoast Trucks.”

He said Midcoast Trucks was bringing an Isuzu dealership, Vawdrey trailers, XL body fabrication, HMF and Hiab cranes franchises.

“Incremental jobs, investment to develop our business and the community.”

Mr Vorgias says Midcoast Trucks started the process to purchase the site with the vendor agent, Cushman & Wakefield in August.

This is devastating news for Midcoast Trucks.

Midcoast Trucks executive general manager, Steven Vorgias.

“Midcoast Trucks received confirmation that the contracts were agreed prior to the extraordinary council meeting,” Mr Vorgias said. 

“This council has behaved as a competitor to Midcoast Trucks.

“This action by council does not reflect the State government’s policy and strategy for NSW jobs.

“MidCoast Council may be a barrier to entry for businesses to develop and grow jobs in this community.”

Mr Vorgias says Len Roberts is the only councillor to respond to Midcoast Trucks’ written request that council rescind its decision to purchase.

He says Cr Roberts “empathised for losing out on the purchase and wished to work with Midcoast Trucks moving forward.”

“This may be a challenge, as trust would be significantly affected by council’s actions,” Mr Vorgias said.

The former Masters site in Taree comprises an area of around 3.7 hectares and consists of a 9910 square emtre high clearance warehouse facility with 281 car parking spaces and associated infrastructure.

The former Masters site in Taree comprises an area of around 3.7 hectares and consists of a 9910 square emtre high clearance warehouse facility with 281 car parking spaces and associated infrastructure.

MidCoast Council announced on November 3 it had decided to purchase the site as a strategic land acquisition and general manager Glenn Handford stated that council was investigating the use of the site as a single headquarters for MidCoast Council. 

“The building would allow consolidation of the existing four administration centres in Forster and Taree as there is currently both a council and water services administration centre in both Forster and Taree,” he said.

“Council has not made a formal decision to use the building for this use and any decision of this nature will be subject to further analysis and the preparation of a detailed business case.”

MidCoast Council general manager Glenn Handford.

MidCoast Council general manager Glenn Handford.

Mr Vorgias argues the site is not suitable for office administration, that council will need to change the zoning to occupy and believes it is “purpose built for Midcoast Truck operations.”

Mr Handford yesterday advised that “contracts have been exchanged and council will proceed to acquire the property pursuant to the terms of the contract.”

He defended the actions of council’s economic development and planning team and said “MidCoast Council was not aware of other potential purchasers or the amount of any offers that may have been made.”

MidCoast Council was not aware of other potential purchasers or the amount of any offers that may have been made.

MidCoast Council general manager, Glenn Handford.

“If other prospective purchasers were making enquiries through our planning and economic development teams then we would provide information in an open, professional and transparent manner as we would in our normal course of business,” Mr Handford said.

He revealed council submitted a formal expression of interest, subject to council resolution, on August 3, and that its property services team operated independently to MidCoast Council as it undertook due diligence work on the site.

“At the conclusion of the expression of interest process we continued liaising with the vendor’s agent (Cushman & Wakefield) and entered into a commercial bidding process and ultimately secured the property,” Mr Handford said.

I'm equally devastated with this decision of the council, it does not provide a commitment to grow jobs and industry locally.

Jill Follington, executive director of Industry Mid North Coast