Subcontractors in the building industry who claimed a major win in their struggle to ensure they are treated fairly are also happy to go in to bat for mine suppliers.
Les Williams, who heads up the Subcontractors Alliance, hailed the passing of the Building Industry Fairness (Security of Payment) Bill through the Queensland Parliament uncontested on 26 October.
The legislation ensures the use of secure project-specifi c bank accounts where payments are quarantined and imposes penalties for the misuse of those bank accounts.
It also stipulates that subbies be paid at the same time as the builder and limits phoenix activity, where builders escape their liabilities by going into insolvency, only to start up business again under a different registered entity.
However, Mr Williams cautioned that the recent legislation could be a case of history repeating itself.
“We need to be vigilant,” he said.
“The same thing happened in 2004 with the Building and Construction Industry Payments Act, where legislation was supported by all sides only to be overturned when the conservatives won power again.
“In this case I need to pay credit to (Minister for Housing and Public Works at the time) Mick de Brenni for his resolve in providing fairness to building industry small businesses.”
Mr Williams’ business, WK Civil, lost $600,000 with the collapse of national builder Walton Construction four years ago. He was among 1350 creditors.
He started digging for similar stories and turned over a litany of hardship and suffering.
He started up the Subcontractors Alliance with like-minded business owners across the state and lobbied for change “We need to be determined to fight on until it is corrected in every state,” Mr Williams said.
“We are also aware the same thing happened in the mining industry and are quite happy to offer support to have the mining industry included.”