13 / February / 2020

New era for tradies with Project Trust Account roll-out

Business

Posted 13 February 2020


New era for tradies with Project Trust Account roll-out

The Palaszczuk Government's record of job creation will be strengthened through landmark reforms that will help ensure tradies are paid in full, on time.

Housing and Public Works Minister Mick de Brenni today introduced legislation into Parliament that would expand protections in Queensland’s building and construction industry, through the industry-wide implementation of Project Trust Accounts, and crack down on dodgy developers trying to cut and run.

“The Palaszczuk Government knows that there is dignity in work, and that there is no dignity in being left unpaid.

“For too long, the scale has been tipped to leave subbies, tradies and their families shouldering financial responsibility because of dodgy developers who don’t pay.

“Our Building Industry Fairness Bill puts an end to this rorting of the system in Queensland.

“Since coming to government Labor has created 235,000 jobs, and already Project Bank Accounts have seen $803 million paid to Queensland tradies in full, on time, every time.

Mr de Brenni said a review of the first phase of Project Bank Accounts by an independent panel had led to a more simplified Project Trust model.

“In the Palaszczuk Government’s first term we passed laws which were effectively a trial, the independent panel vindicates our commitment to lead the nation on this issue.

“At its core our laws deliver our agenda to ensure tradies are paid in full, on time, every time, but we’ve made it simpler now.”

Mr de Brenni said project and retention trust accounts would commence in four phases, starting in July this year, so that by July 2022 Project Trusts will be required on all projects valued at over $1 million in Queensland.

Project Trust Roll-Out Details 

Project Trusts will be rolled out in four phases:

  1. From 1 July 2020 Project Trusts will apply to eligible government and Health and Hospital Services’ building contracts of $1 million or more.
  2. From 1 July 2021 Project Trust Accounts will be extended to the private sector and local government for eligible building contracts valued at $10 million or more.
  3. From 1 January 2022, project trust accounts will cover eligible building contracts worth $3 million or more.
  4. On 1 July 2022 trusts will be required for all eligible building contracts valued at $1 million or more. At this point, retention trusts will benefit all subcontractors in the chain where there is a project trust.

“When we introduced the Building Industry Fairness Act in August 2017, we made it clear we were going to clean up the industry, and its payments system, that left the tradies at the bottom – the ones getting their hands dirty – out in the cold when the money ran out,” Mr de Brenni said.

“We have seen too much heartbreak from tradies left high and dry while developers and ruthless head contractors have walked away unscathed from company collapses.

“We have always said that everyone deserves to be paid for the work they do – in full, on time and every time."

Minister de Brenni said the reforms introduced into Parliament today were a step in the right direction towards keeping developers on the hook if they tried to leave Queensland builders in the lurch.

“We’re giving head contractors the ability to stop developers from selling property and running off without paying head contractors what they are due."

Mr de Brenni said the QBCC will have oversight of the trust accounts and increased power to prosecute anyone who causes a financial loss by not complying with contractual obligations.

“The building and construction industry is worth around $46 billion annually to the Queensland economy and employs around 240,000 people,” he said.

“The Special Joint Taskforce, that last year investigated fraudulent non-payment of subcontractors, highlighted the need for action and we accepted its 10 recommendations in full.”

Mr de Brenni said the Bill introduced root and branch reform.

Additional legislation:

  • Key reforms to building certification and further deliver the Queensland Building Plan reforms
  • Enhanced regulatory powers for the Board of Architects Queensland and the Board of Professional Engineers Queensland
  • Further strengthened the QBCC Act in relation to the compliance framework for the Minimum Financial Requirements
  • Established the framework for professional standards schemes to operate for certifiers.

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