Centrelink no help for businesswoman driven under

Fay Scobie is upset her Kidzone business is closing down. Items from the business will be auctioned. Photo: Warren Lynam / Sunshine Coast Daily
Fay Scobie is upset her Kidzone business is closing down. Items from the business will be auctioned. Photo: Warren Lynam / Sunshine Coast Daily Warren Lynam

A FRUSTRATED grandmother is battling to access Centrelink payments after the business she ploughed her life's savings into was forced to close.

Fay Scoby, the owner of indoor play land Kidzown, says the Sunshine Coast Council is largely to blame. It allowed another indoor play land, Chipmunks, to open fewer than 60 metres away two years after she opened.

She was forced to shut shop on September 1 and on Monday she will be auctioning off all business equipment, including the playground slides, toys and kitchen equipment.

The heartbroken woman said she had done everything she could to keep going, but it was no longer possible.

"When I heard Chipmunks was opening I asked the council how they could allow this," Ms Scoby said.

"They said as long as the business met all the criteria, they could do nothing."

Chipmunks Birtinya owner Ashley Noffke said he was very sad to hear the business had closed. He said his business had been planned for up to two years before Kidzown opened.

"We had no intention to harm another business," the former Australian cricketer said.

Ms Scoby has worked hard to earn a living most of her life, working while raising her two daughters on her own. She invested money she inherited from her mother and mother-in-law into the family home and the business and spent $500,000 of her own money trying to keep it afloat.

"This business sent me to the wall. I am absolutely broke. I have no more form of income."

She went to Centrelink and after filling out all the paperwork there appeared to be a hiccup with her being able to access payments.

"Young people who have been on the dole since they left school, don't want to work ... collect the dole and surf all day."

Department of Human Services manager Hank Jongen said that when a person was in severe financial hardship and had little or no entitlement to a payment, an application could be made under asset hardship provisions. He said an officer was working with the customer to explore options.

Should council be more considerate of existing business when making approvals?

This poll ended on 21 September 2014.

Current Results

Yes, allowing a competitor next door to a fledgling business is insane


Yes, it should be something that's taken into account


No, the existing checks and balances are fine


No, if a business can't handle the competition it should shut down


This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

FANCY a giant, 17-metre climbing structure with ball pits and slippery slides in your living room?


Or maybe you want to refit your kitchen with cupboards, stainless steel benches, Skope fridges and even the kitchen sink.

Kidzown will be auctioning off in excess of $350,000 worth of equipment after they were forced to close.

Eye play game, jumping castles, chairs, tables, the party room as well as plenty of miscellaneous items will also be up for grabs.

Be on site at Kidzown, Monday, September 23, at 2pm at Capital Place, Lake Kawana.

Topics:  auction kidzone sunshine coast regional council

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Debbie the second most costly cyclone in Australia's history

The Insurance Council of Australia says the cost of Debbie's damage is second only to Cyclone Tracy which devastated Darwin in December, 1974.

$1.71 billion to fix damage from Townsville to Lismore

How to stop Facebook from grabbing your data

How Facebook can grab your data, and what to do to stop it

Billie is back home for a Peepshow with Circa

SHOW: Circa will offer the world premiere of  Peepshow  in Lismore.

Mullumbimby performer is back with show's world premiere

Local Partners