NT Beverages enters voluntary administration despite $10 million boost from taxpayers
A controversial water bottling company that received $10 million of taxpayers' money has entered voluntary administration, only hours after receiving its long-awaited water extraction licence.
NT Beverages, which produces Akuna Blue and Akuna Springs bottled water, entered into administration on Friday after months of ongoing controversy.
In February of this year the company received $10 million from the publicly funded Infrastructure Development Fund, which has since been abolished.
The company first came under scrutiny when it was granted the money before it had been awarded a water extraction licence by the NT's water controller.
Ironically, NT Beverages was finally granted the licence last Thursday, only hours before it entered into voluntary administration.
Asked why the licence was granted given the company's troubles, the water controller mainly cited environmental compliance rather than the company's perilous financial state.
A source close to the company told the ABC it "was riddled with problems," and the ABC has revealed multiple instances of company mismanagement.
The Acacia Hills-based company, which claimed it had the capacity to produce 96,00 litres of beverages a day, had misrepresented the source and quality of the water on its website. Independent analysis found it was no healthier than tap water.
Before the company received its multi-million dollar grant, the company had set up what it had called a charitable foundation, but ASIC later confirmed the foundation had never made a charitable donation.
In November, it was revealed that the company may have used some public funds to pay its employees superannuation it failed to pay them since the company was established in 2015.
Some employees claimed to have been owed more than $15,000.
Treasurer Nicole Manison, who signed off on the formation of Infrastructure Development Fund, would not comment on NT Beverages' situation today.