From Les Williams, spokesman The Subcontractors Alliance
1. We thank News Ltd for their back our subbies campaign that identified the magnitude of insolvent trading schemes (50+) in the QLD construction industry; the state government for establishing the Special Joint Task Force (SJTF) to investigate fraud and the SJTF for their hard work.
2. Given the definition of fraud in the report; the magnitude of insolvent trading schemes in the Qld industry; the nature of those schemes; the obvious parties to the schemes and the $500 million impact to over 7000 trade creditors identified in News’ Campaign it would appear that the SJTF has failed to come to grips with the situation, given that:
· there are only 38 referrals to the QPS for investigation;
· there is no breakdown of the number of referrals for 408C fraud or lesser offences referred that we say are mechanisms of the greater crime of fraud (408C);
· there is no referrals/mention of public servants for assisting the commission of illegal activity;
· there is no reference to the Proceeds of Crime Laws
3. The SJTF has also failed to indicate why it is not proceeding with the Walton matter for unspecified reasons, to be reviewed at an unspecified time, based on unspecified criteria. The Walton Construction and other high profile collapses appear to conform perfectly with that described in clause 1.2.2 Prevalence of fraud and dishonesty (page10) and the further main offences considered by the SJTF set out in appendix D, pages 39/40 of the report.
4. Our further concerns are:
· That illegal phoenix activity acknowledged in this report and other reports cannot flourish without some involvement of insolvency practitioners and that they are relied upon for advice in this regard;
· The historical enforcement and referral void by the QBCC has contributed to the non-payment of subcontractors in Qld given the report identifies that the industry in Qld has significantly more regulatory tools and sufficient tools than most other jurisdictions;
· That the results of investigations referred to both the QBCC and QPS will not be made public;
· That referrals made to ASIC will be a waste of time and not acted on;
· The inclusion of the QBCC as members of the SJTF;
· The SJTF has failed to identify that HPW is part of the problem in the way it acts as a developer, determines the policy of the regulator and pushes to one side the checks and balances for its own convenience to the detriment of subcontractors.
5. This organisation renews its call for an independent inquiry with Royal Commission powers to investigate regulatory failures by the QBCC and their alleged involvement in facilitating insolvent trading schemes detailed in the News Ltd campaign.