Big builders risk stiff QBCC sanctions
THE state's building regulator has received financial reports from only 171 of 855 licensees required to submit them by midnight Sunday as part of a Palaszczuk Government drive to improve payment security in the construction sector.
Many of the licensees were large multi-national companies operating across Australia.
The new rules apply to Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) category 4 to 7 licences for big building companies with annual revenue of more than $30 million.
By the end of 2019, under the laws which took affect on January 1, every other licensee in the industry will be required to meet the new financial reporting rules.
"These new requirements help the QBCC to monitor the viability of licensees. Viable construction companies offer better stability for the industry and improve the security of payment for subbies and suppliers," QBCC commissioner Brett Bassett said.
"Those who don't follow the law could be subject to prosecution, financial audits and, where appropriate, licence suspensions or cancellations.
"Earlier this month we suspended the licence of construction giant Laing O'Rourke Australia Construction Pty Ltd for failing to meet minimum financial requirements," Mr Bassett said.
"Let me be clear - if you are operating outside of the law, we will take appropriate regulatory action.
"Part of our job is to ensure Queensland's building and construction industry is safe, stable and sustainable, and if big companies are operating with unacceptable financial risk, then we will be taking regulatory action.
"We must work to protect the sector from serious financial harm. When big companies collapse, it has a devastating impact on the industry.
"The new annual financial reporting requirements will help the QBCC to better protect subbies, suppliers, other companies, home owners and investors from potential financial detriment when licensees are operating with poor financial health."
Following News Corp's Back Our Subbies series, which highlighted the extent of insolvency and non-payment in the construction sector, the State Government has established a Special Joint Taskforce to examine complaints of fraud and other illegal practices in the sector.
Headed by Justice John Byrne, it includes fraud squad detectives, the Department of Public Prosecutions and investigators from the QBCC, and will start receiving submissions on Wednesday.
For instructions on how to submit the financial documents, visit www.qbcc.qld.gov.au/financial-reporting-licensees/annual-reporting.
The QBCC website also has a licensee search function for consumers.
The QBCC will also send reminders to licensees who are yet to provide their information.