FROM the time he burst into the headlines in 2008 as the audacious young magnate who turned a $500,000 punt into a pay cheque of more than $440million, Nathan Tinkler was obviously a determined individual. Subsequent deals turned that original fortune into even greater wealth, to the point where Mr Tinkler was described as a billionaire before his 35th birthday.
Rich beyond the dreams of most mortals, Mr Tinkler lavished hundreds of millions of dollars on the sport of kings, thoroughbred racing. He rescued football franchises the Newcastle Jets and Newcastle Knights from financial difficulties, and considered a revival of GPT’s stalled plans for inner-city revival with his construction and property companies in the Buildev Group.
But from the start, rumours of Mr Tinkler’s robust business methods were never far from the surface.
Some disputes went as far as court, but for the most part, people seemed prepared to dust themselves off after brushes with the Tinkler Group, and to write any losses down to experience.
But not any longer. People are speaking on the record about their dealings with Buildev, Patinack Farm and other Tinkler companies, and complaints have been made to authorities about unpaid superannuation contributions.
The Tinkler Group, not surprisingly, is unhappy with the coverage it’s receiving, but some would suggest it only has itself to blame. While money can bring great opportunity, wealth of the sort that Mr Tinkler lays claim to often carries a corresponding deal of responsibility.
When Hunter Sports Group took control of the Knights and the Jets, Mr Tinkler spoke of wanting to support both clubs for the community, and people were grateful for his substantial input. Unfortunately, however, many of the people who have been owed money by Mr Tinkler’s companies are members of this same community.
They dealt with him in good faith, and, sadly, too many of them have found the experience to be a bruising one.
None of this is to say that Tinkler companies are not valued players in this region’s economy, or that anyone wants to see a clearly talented individual in the spotlight for the wrong reasons.
But a man in the midst of a $5.3billion coal industry takeover should not leave a trail of unhappy creditors behind him, seemingly as though they are of little consequence. If there is another side to this story, then Mr Tinkler should come out and tell it. In the meantime, he might care to remember the old saying about the benefits of treating people well on the way up.
A RESUMPTION of work means the 1.8kilometres of the Shortland to Sandgate section of the Newcastle inner-city bypass should be finished by the end of next year.
This would leave a final section between Rankin Park and Jesmond to build.
A preferred route, and a connection to the western side of John Hunter Hospital, was unveiled in 2007, but the project was not included in state infrastructure strategies of the day. Given that planning for the bypass started some 60 years ago, this final stage is surely overdue.