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Queensland sparkies and plumbers back expanded Project Bank Accounts

4th December 2019

 

 

Queensland’s electricians and plumbers have given their strong endorsement to the State Government’s plan to expand the Project Bank Accounts initiative to the private construction sector.

Master Electricians Australia CEO Malcolm Richards and Master Plumbers’ Association of Queensland Executive Director, Penny Cornah today said the move, from 2021, would give small contractors certainty and fairness in their dealings with large builders.

Mr Richards congratulated the Minister Mick de Brenni for consulting with the industry and hearing the concerns of the overwhelming majority of businesses operating in the space.

“The Minister has listened to the industry’s concerns and taken our views on board,” Mr Richards said.

“The result is a set of laws that will give protections to vulnerable small businesses who have the scales tipped against them when they are dealing with very large builders.

“The money paid to the builders by the client will need to be set aside to be spent only on the specified project, which will reduce the risk of sub-contractors being out of pocket if the lead contractor collapses.

“If builders cannot afford to quarantine the funds from an individual project, it can only mean they are using one job to cross-subsidise another.

“That’s the very behaviour these measures are designed to avoid. It puts the entire financial structure of the industry at risk, and when a builder’s house of cards falls down it’s the sub-contractors who pay the price.

“The lead contractors always seem to walk away relatively unscathed, while mum-and dad electrical or plumbing businesses are left facing the loss of their businesses and homes.”

Ms Cornah said: “The level of consultation that the Queensland Government has undertaken in relation to the building and construction subcontractor payment fairness reforms with builders and trade contractors is extraordinary. Our members will support any amendments to the laws that improve payment fairness.

“Sub-contractors have been subject to broken laws for over 40 years. Subcontractors have gone broke, lost their livelihood, their business and in some unfortunate cases even taken their lives. These reforms will assist in putting an end to this.”

Media Contact: The SAS Group – 0467 792 013

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