Palaszczuk Government makes history with nation leading subbies payment reforms

Published Thursday, 26 October, 2017 at 05:23 PM

Minister for Housing and Public Works and Minister for Sport
The Honourable Mick de Brenni

Today marks a new era for the state’s building and construction industry, with the Palaszczuk Government’s historic subcontractors payment legislation passed through the Parliament.

Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said the Building Industry Fairness (Security of Payment) Bill 2017 would bring security and confidence to the Queensland’s $45 billion construction industry.

“For far too long, subcontractors have had to shoulder most of the financial risk on building projects, but that changes today,” Mr de Brenni said.

“These reforms help ensure that subcontractors in the building and construction industry are paid in full and on time, every time.

“With these reforms, Queensland will have the strongest protections for subcontractors anywhere in Australia.”

Mr de Brenni paid tribute to the extraordinary contribution of the Speaker Peter Wellington.

“It’s almost unheard of for the Speaker to vacate the chair in order to speak on a bill, and entirely unprecedented for an independent Speaker give such passionate support for a policy of the Premier and her government,” Mr de Brenni said.

“We are where we are today because of the dedication the Speaker Wellignton has shown in standing up for his constituents after the 2014 Walton’s collapse, which sent so many subcontractors to the wall.

“I want to thank him for his tireless advocacy and for his support for people who make up Queensland’s building and construction industry.”

The reforms have been roundly applauded by the building and construction industry.

Master Electricians State Manager Gary Veenstra said their members were relieved to know that the Building Industry Fairness Bill had been passed.

“I never thought I’d see the day, honestly. Subbies have spent so many nights sitting up late, going over the books, wondering how they going to pay their staff,” Mr Veenstra said.

“I can’t tell you how much it means to subbies that this government has passed legislation to make sure that subbies and their workers are going to get paid.”

National Fire Industry Association CEO Wayne Smith said their members had been asking for payment security for as long as he could remember, but the Palaszczuk Government was the first wth the courage to address the issue.

“This is a turning point for the building and construction industry,” Mr Smith said.

“When I’ve spoken to members up until now, they’ve said that even when they do chase big builders for payment, it’s complicated and difficult and in then end it’s not worth it. So knowing that we’ll be able to use a simplified, faster dispute resolution process is just going to free up people’s time, they can get their money and get back to work.

“We are so glad to have a government and a Minister who really listened, who worked with us on these reforms.”

Airconditioning and Mechanical Contractors Association Executive Director Graham Mackrill said subcontractors have never had such robust protections anywhere in Australia.

“This legislation is historic – it will create the kind of environment that will make people want to do business in Queensland,” Mr Mackrill said.

Master Plumbers Association of Queensland Executive Director Penny Cornah said the Building Industry Fairness Bill would bring balance for subcontractors.

“Plumbers will no longer be used as a line of credit by unscrupulous operators,” Ms Cornah said.

“Payment certainty allows businesses to employ more apprentices and employees, knowing that they know they will be paid what they are owed.”

Mr de Brenni said the comprehensive package of reforms were the result of extensive consultation, and would deliver a range of measures to secure payment for subcontractors.

“Project Bank Accounts are part of this comprehensive package of reforms, and PBAs will prevent builders who want to use subcontractor payments as a line of credit from using funds from one project on another project,” Mr de Brenni said.

“We listened to industry, and our new laws mean that we will have the ability to expand the use of PBAs down to sub-subcontractor level if needed.

“We will use PBAs on all Government projects valued at between $1 million and $10 million from 1 January 2018, and will look to extend them to private sector projects over $1 million after 1 January 2019.”

Mr de Brenni said Queensland’s $45 billion building and construction industry employs almost 220,000 people and this is expected to grow to $52.3 billion and 230,000 people in 2018-2019 – a rise of $7.4 billion.

“Queensland deserves a strong, viable and productive building and construction industry,” he said.

“These measures are part of a comprehensive suite of reforms developed following extensive consultation over the past two years.

“They are considered, they are comprehensive and they will protect the lives and livelihoods of Queenslanders.”


Media contact: Tristan Douglas – 0447 164 197