Reform aims to improve payment security for subbies
GREATER security for subcontract small businesses in the construction industry would increase their confidence to invest and employ more people, Housing Minister Mick de Brenni has declared.
He has signed off on the engagement of Deloitte and Clayton Utz Lawyers to assist in the design of security of payment reform in Queensland based on analysis done by the Department of Housing.
Mr de Brenni warned the Opposition could object at its own peril to changes which would improve the plight of subcontractors.
Addressing the issue was a key element of the exchange of letters between Nicklin Independent and now Speaker of the House Peter Wellington and the Premier that allowed Labor to form government last year.
In January the Minister launched a statewide roadshow in Nambour to inform that the process is now under way.
The move comes as the Subcontractors Alliance continues to push for national security of payment legislation in line with recommendations made last year by a Senate Inquiry into Construction Industry Insolvency.
The Alliance was formed in the wake of the Walton Construction collapse in 2013 which cost Sunshine Coast subbies $3million on the Nambour Coles project.
Mr de Brenni said engagement of the two firms was good news in the fight for security of payment and a demonstration of the Palaszczuk Government's commitment and progress.
"Across the state we have seen a continuation of collapses of companies in the construction industry,'' he said.
"Every day I meet another subbie who has been underpaid or not paid by companies who are not insolvent.
"There is a concession among all of the most significant players in the industry that putting its head in the sand has to end.
"The new QBCC commissioner has been actively investigating problems in the industry from his first day on the job.
"The policy work has to be done out of my office and I am working closely with advisors to ensure we deliver a mechanism that works across industry and rebuilds confidence in it.
"I talked to a subbie last night who said if he could continue to make his current income but with the guarantee of payment he would have confidence to employ three more people and to invest in three pieces of equipment."
Responding to claims that a civil construction firm, which had gone into liquidation in his own electorate, had for years advertised for building work it was not licensed to do, Mr de Brenni said if the law was being ignored or breached that should be reported so it can be acted on.
"If the law is ineffective we need to know about it,'' he said.
Mr de Brenni said sophisticated answers were required for the complex problems that exist in the construction industry.
He said the entirety of the construction industry regime would be considered in producing legislation to improve payment security including insolvency legislation and the current BCIPA Act.
"No stone will be left unturned to achieve a better outcome for subbies and a better outcome for the Queensland economy as a whole,'' Mr de Brenni said.
"It was a government election commitment to conduct a review of amendments to BCIPA carried out by the Newman LNP government in 2014.
"I am confident my colleagues all believe everyone should be paid for a fair day's work.
"I am confident the decision makers across parliament will produce a result for subbies that will be overwhelmingly positive.
"There have been positive reactions across industry.
"Everybody is reaching the conclusion pretending there is not a problem is no longer sustainable.
"I want to demonstrate that if we create confidence small business will employ more people."