Security of payment for tradies nears major milestone as extension provided for smaller contracts
Published Sunday, 19 March, 2023 at 09:30 AM
Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen and Minister for Public Works and Procurement
The Honourable Mick de Brenni
- Nearly $10 billion is now protected for tradies under Project Trust Accounts
- Government extending commencement date for eligible contracts for up to two years–between $3 and $10 million to 1 March 2025, and over $1 million to 1 October 2025.
The Palaszczuk Government continues to lead the nation in security of payment frameworks, including Minimum Financial Requirements, Retention Trust Accounts, and Project Trust Accounts (PTA).
These frameworks are all designed to strengthen security of payments to tradies, ensure safe workplaces, and quality construction for consumers right across Queensland’s building and construction industry.
In recognition of the need to balance continued protections for tradies with a suitable software solution for smaller builders feeling the strain of an at-capacity industry, the Queensland Government has extended the commencement of the remaining phases of the PTA framework.
Starting now, a Steering Committee will engage a specialist to work with software providers to ensure a reasonably priced, and fit for purpose, solution is available to make compliance straight forward, especially for smaller companies.
Quotes attributable to the Minister for Public Works and Procurement, Mick de Brenni:
“Queensland is the only jurisdiction that has gone this far.
"In recognition of our commitment to full scheme operation and balancing the capacity of the industry at a challenging time, we are giving both tradies and builders certainty about the final phases of implementation.
“We have always said this was not going to be a simple reform process, and that we won’t let prefect stand in the way of good–so whilst not ideal, in the current circumstances, this is the right thing to do.
“Subcontractors are especially vulnerable to payment delay or non-payment as they are at the end of the contractual supply chain.
“While trust accounts have secured more tradies being paid on time, in full, every time, our regular evaluations show software providers haven’t kept pace with industry reform and need time to catch up.
"Larger contractors have been able to manage these challenges in house, whilst we’ve heard from smaller builders, they mostly use off-the-shelf solutions that aren’t quite there yet.
“Our reforms are nation leading, so it’s no surprise that we need to double down on working with the IT industry to build a solution that works for everyone.
"This extension will provide certainty to industry about the Palaszczuk Government’s ongoing commitment to security of payment and allow industry to continue preparing for the further roll out.
“Queensland’s economy is the strongest in the nation, and because the Palaszczuk Government continues to invest in infrastructure, including schools, hospitals, community facilities, housing, and more, the amount protected under Project Trust Accounts is growing rapidly.”
What is a Project Trust Account?
A Project Trust Account (PTA) is an account through which project payments are received and paid. A PTA is needed for all eligible construction contracts in Queensland. A separate PTA is required for each eligible contract.
Typically, a PTA is:
- paid into by the project owner or developer
- managed by the head contractor
- the account from which all subcontractors are paid
- the account from which the head contractor pays themselves.
All other protections, including payment terms, reporting, and financial obligations (including existing Project Trust Account thresholds), will continue to require compliance and will be enforced by the building regulator.
Queensland has the strongest security of payment framework in the country:
- Project trust accounts and retention trust accounts;
- Strong anti-phoenixing laws with 3 year/lifetime bans for insolvency/repeat insolvency;
- Licence suspension, or cancellation, for failure to meet Minimum Financial Requirements;
- Transparent Minimum Financial Requirement reporting performance;
- Regulator powers to investigate and enforce payment obligations;
- Enhanced adjudication of payment disputes, subcontractor charges and monies owed complaints frameworks; and
- New payment withholding requests, charges over property and supporting statements.
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