Apr 13, 2016

Pensive wait for payment plans

Pensive wait for payment plans Yellow Block Road director John Beldan and Housing and Public Works Minister Mick de Brenni at the Townsville information session in March.

Subcontractors brought to their knees by developers who went bust without paying their wages will have a clearer picture later this year of changes flagged to the Security of Payment system, according to Queensland Housing and Public Works Minister Mick de Brenni.

A series of information sessions were staged right up the east coast of the state and at inland centres Ipswich, Toowoomba and Mount Isa.

“The public consultation period for Security of Payment closed at the end of March and during that period my department received more than 130 submissions,” Mr de Brenni said.

More than 450 people attended the statewide consultation sessions and meetings hosted by industry stakeholders.

“I heard heart-breaking stories right across the state of people losing their homes and families being ripped apart because people hadn’t been paid for work they completed,” Mr de Brenni said.

“This is why it is so important that subbies get paid on time and in full, every time.”

The collected feedback is now being reviewed and analysed. Once that is completed, Mr de Brenni said his department would have a better idea about specific issues raised, and the areas they affected.

“I expect to be able to come back to subbies and industry later this year with a plan based on this feedback,” he said.

The discussion paper had a series of options for the public to consider:

  • Option 1—Project bank accounts: A project bank account facilitates simultaneous payments of a project’s head contractor and all participating subcontractors through a trust arrangement.
  • Option 2—Retention trust fund scheme: This option requires subcontractors’ retention money to be held in a separate trust account.
  • Option 3—Insurance schemes: This option includes a range of insurance schemes to safeguard against defects, late completion and insolvency of contractors.
  • Option 4—Federal legislative changes: This option seeks to lobby the Commonwealth Government for reform to legislation relating to security of payment.
  • Option 5—Education: This option proposes education for the building and construction industry stakeholders regarding matters such as financial management, contract management and protection of their rights.

The discussion paper also sought feedback on the 2014 amendments to the Building and Construction Industry Payments Act 2004, as well as the Subcontractors’ Charges Act 1974 and the Queensland Building and Construction Commission’s Minimum Financial Requirements Policy.

While staff from the HPW Department process the feedback from subcontractors, Mr de Brenni encouraged people to get in touch with him at securityofpayment@hpw.qld.gov.au.

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