Queensland’s struggling building sector faces a $400 million slug from a new State Government scheme designed to ensure subbies and tradies get paid on time.
Glen Norris, The Courier-Mail Subscriber only|December 3, 2019 3:57pm
QUEENSLAND’S builders are facing a $400 million hit if a controversial State Government proposal designed to protect subcontractors is expanded to the private sector, according to the industry’s peak body.
Master Builders Queensland deputy chief executive Paul Bidwell said plans to expand project bank accounts to the private sector from 2021 would result in “chaos” and the loss of investment confidence. Project bank accounts (PBAs), which involve building head contractors placing money into special trust accounts to ensure subcontractors are paid, currently only being trialled for government projects. “There will be more than 2000 private sector projects caught with an estimated value of $13 billion,” said Mr Bidwell. “The cost to the builders and investors would be around $400 million.”
The State Government recently completed a review of PBA’s and will streamline some procedures to make it easier for builders to administer the scheme.
But Mr Bidwell said there was no evidence PBA’s had helped subbies get paid on time. He said PBA’s involving government projects had already cost builders $12 million in increased administrative costs, a cost that ultimately the Queensland taxpayer would wear.
“More than 60 per cent of builders said that PBAs have shredded their confidence in investing in their businesses,” said Mr Bidwell. “Almost half of the principals and 20 per cent of subcontractors shared that same view.”
Gee, shock, horror, thats no good, fancy that, builders being responsible for the funding of their own builds when thats always been a job for subbies and suppliers...