THOUSANDS of workers across NSW face an anxious wait this week as the administrator of troubled engineering network the Hastie Group attempts to minimise any job losses.
On Monday morning, 2700 employees attached to the group's 42 companies were stood down indefinitely after an administrator was brought in to deal with the fallout of a massive financial bungle.
An employee, believed to be from Queensland, allegedly falsified accounts to the tune of $20million, contributing to the group's debt which reportedly could be as high as $500million.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference in Melbourne on Monday afternoon, Ian Carson from administrator PPB Advisory said there was still hope for the plumbers, mechanics and electricians who were working on unfinished contracts.
Long-term job prospects, Mr Carson admitted, however, were dim.
He said the Hastie Group had taken out loans with just about every major bank in a failed attempt to get back on track.
Federal Employment Minister Bill Shorten, who will meet with the administrator in Melbourne on Friday, said he was "particularly disappointed" the potential job losses had been brought by what appeared to be poor financial management on the company's part.
He said should subsidiaries of the company enter into liquidation, the Federal Government would offer support to workers through the General Employee Entitlements and Redundancy Scheme.
The GEERS payment scheme is designed to help workers who have lost their jobs as a result of their employer's insolvency.
"The Government's GEERS scheme operates to protect employees' entitlements in these situations," Mr Shorten said
"These are tailored services which cater to individual needs and help people find new jobs as soon as possible," he said.
"This includes support with everything from preparing résumés and job applications, to honing interview skills and providing career advice."
The Australian Securities and Investment Commission is investigating.