EXCLUSIVE: Subbies taskforce locks onto fraudster builders
THE Special Joint Taskforce appointed by the State Government to investigate dodgy operators in the building industry has uncovered 108 potential crimes.
The taskforce was appointed by the government after a News Corp Back our Subbies campaign, driven by Sunshine Coast Daily journalist Bill Hoffman, highlighted the issue of non-payment to subcontractors in the industry.
The Honourable John Byrne, who headed the taskforce, delivered the Special Joint Taskforce report to the State Government this week.
In all, there was 166 submissions making complaints of dodgy payment for construction work.
Of those, 146 submissions came from subcontractors and another 20 came mostly from industry organisations providing suggestions for policy change.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk welcomed the news, saying it was a step in the right direction for mums and dads, and small business people left in the lurch with unpaid invoices.
"As a result of the subbies taskforce, 108 matters have been referred to authorities including the Queensland Building and Construction Commission, the Queensland Police Service and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission," Ms Palaszczuk said.
"About 45 per cent of referrals related to alleged fraud, while others involved claims of insolvent trading, unlicensed building work and failure to pay retention amounts."
Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said the referrals were a positive step to ensuring past wrongs were righted.
"Queensland is leading the nation in ensuring tradies are paid in full, on time, every time," Mr de Brenni said.
"We've introduced landmark payment protections as part of our Building Industry Fairness reforms, but some of the historical allegations of white-collar crime needed to be re-tested."
Mr Byrne thanked his team that included detectives from the Queensland Police Service, investigators from the Queensland Building and Construction Commission, and prosecutors from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
"We heard from a wide range of people within the industry and from different areas in the state," Mr Byrne said.
"Tradies who made submissions included concreters and electricians, gasfitters and cabinet-makers, to name but a few.
"These submissions covered many different topics, with individual allegations as well as suggestions for industry-wide change. "From all of this, we have been able to get a broad understanding of issues in the industry to help us prepare our report and recommendations for the government."
Queensland's building and construction industry currently contributes $46 billion to the state's economy and employs about 230,000 people.