Ministerial Statements - Construction Industry - Subcontractors


I have spoken in this place before about the important issue of security of payment for contractors and how crucial it is to families around the state that action is taken to address this. Members of this government understand the dignity of work. Members of this government understand what a decent job means to Queenslanders and also what it means not to get paid. That is why in the lead-up to the 2015 state election we committed to review the issue of security of payment.

Since becoming minister I have met countless tradies, subbies and their families who have told me of the consequences of not being paid on time or not being paid in full and all too often not paid at all. People lose their life savings, their homes, their vehicles and their livelihoods. Families fall apart. Some people become homeless and, most tragically, suicide is not uncommon.

What has become clear through our investigations is that it is not just company collapses that lead to non-payment. A small number of rogue players seemingly devoid of any shred of decency are treating non-payment or late payment as their business model. This is having a detrimental effect on confidence in the construction industry. Only a few weeks ago I met with a subbie who told me that he has put off buying three pieces of equipment and hiring three new staff just so he has a buffer for the next time he does not get paid. Let me repeat that: that is for the next time he does not get paid, not in case he does not get paid.

It is clear to me that the community expects us to take action. I am pleased to inform the House that I have taken the next step in addressing this important issue. Late last month my department engaged Deloitte Access Economics to undertake comprehensive modelling on the options for improving security of payment. The Queensland construction industry is strong, it is sophisticated and it is also a necessarily complex industry. The work undertaken by Deloitte will investigate what the right mix of policies is to make sure that subbies get paid on time and in full every time.

We understand that it is incumbent on all of us in this place to give greater security to the tens and thousands of families to prevent tragedy and heartbreak and to build confidence across Queenslands construction industry. I look forward to further updating the House on our progress. 

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