The Palaszczuk Government’s landmark building industry fairness reforms mark an important milestone today with the commencement of Project Bank Accounts (PBAs) as part of the Building Industry Fairness Act.
Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said PBAs are the centrepiece of a suite of measures that create the strongest sub-contractor protections in the nation.
“This Labor Government is committed to a fair go for construction businesses, for workers, and for families,” Mr de Brenni said.
“Queensland’s $45 billion construction sector employs over 220,000 people and it is vitally important that subcontractors and suppliers feel confident they will be paid in full, on time and every time.
“Today we take a giant step in reversing the damage caused by the LNP’s absurd self-reporting financial scheme for building companies.
“It was the LNP that opened the door for dodgy operators to send Queensland subbies to the wall by making it easy for them to delay payments. or, in too many cases, not pay them at all by setting up sham companies in someone else’s name.
“Subbies are not an interest-free loan facility, they are not a source of free money for unscrupulous operators.
“They are mums and dads, families, small business people out there having a go and they deserve to be paid for the work they have completed.”
The first phase of the new PBA model applies to government projects valued at between $1 million and $10 million, excluding engineering projects like bridges and roads. Progress payments are paid through a trust for head contractors and first-tier sub-contractors and suppliers, with separate trust accounts for retention funds and disputed funds.
The second phase of the reforms takes effect from 1 July 2018 and includes new procedures for payment claims, responses and adjudication of disputed claims. The third phase from 1 January 2019 will reinstate mandatory financial reporting for building companies in Queensland.
Mr de Brenni said the reforms also strengthen the Queensland Building and Construction Commission’s powers to intervene to protect subbies by re-opening its line of sight to companies that may be in trouble.
“The LNP tied the hands of the QBCC behind its back, whilst the Palaszczuk Government has given the tiger back its teeth,” he said.
“The Palaszczuk Government’s is committed to fairness – and that’s what these reforms are all about.”
After evaluation, PBAs will eventually be rolled out to all government and private sector projects over $1 million and, if needed, will be extended further to cover lower tiers of subcontractors.
Mr de Brenni said the wide-ranging benefits of the security of payment reforms include reduced project delays, fewer disruptions and disputes as well as more money for subbies to grow their own businesses.
“Importantly it will also mean more jobs, adding to the Palaszczuk Government’s impressive record of delivering 152,400 positions since Queenslanders turfed the LNP out of office in January 2015,” he said.
“These security of payment measures are part of the Queensland Building Plan that has been developed through the most comprehensive consultation on building industry reforms in this state’s history.
“Our industry and consumer stakeholders have worked tirelessly with us over the past two years to lay the foundations for a safe, secure and successful building and construction industry.
“We look forward to continuing to work with these stakeholders as we ensure Queensland’s building industry continues to lead the nation for many years to come.”
You can find out more about Building Industry Fairness reforms at http://www.hpw.qld.gov.au/BuildingPlan/
Minister for Housing and Public Works, Minister for Digital Technology and Minister for Sport
The Honourable Mick de Brenni