Special investigator to probe subbie rip-offs


THE State Government will appoint a special investigator to head a Joint Taskforce probing allegations of subbie rip-offs in the building industry.

"I have listened to these subbies and their demands to be heard - and I have acted," Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said tonight.

The decision comes after a Queensland-wide Back Our Subbies campaign by News Corp titles called for a taskforce to look into more than 50 construction industry insolvencies since 2013 that have left around 7000 trade creditors including subcontractors unpaid more than half a billion dollars.

The full impact of the decision was expected to be raised in Parliament tomorrowthurs where the government was expected to announce who will head the taskforce.

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In a statement, the government said the Premier and Housing Minister Mick de Brenni had been working on finding a way to address complaints of small business people and family companies.

Housing Minister Mick de Brenni says reforms introduced in December will ensure everyone working in the building industry is paid in full. Picture: Clare Armstrong
Housing Minister Mick de Brenni (Photo: file)

Mr de Brenni, who established project bank accounts on government works to ensure subbies were paid, said addressing their concerns came down to fairness.

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"Workers deserve to be paid," he said.

"No government has done more than this one to provide that certainty but we know there is more to be done."

Suncontractors Alliance head Les Williams, who has fought for justice in the industry since the 2013 collapse of Walton construction left debts of more than $90m across Australia, welcomed the announcement.

"I really thought that in line with the Premier's mantra of openness and accountability, the government would come through," he said.

"She has and now we want to see who the investigation head is and the terms of reference under which he will act.

"I would hope whoever is involved is completely independent of the QBCC.

"There is a long way to go and definitely a lot to be considered."

The Premier's announcement comes after Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington's announcement an LNP government would call a Commission of Inquiry into the industry if elected.

The federal Labor Party this week also announced the introduction of tough new measures to give subbies payment security.