HOUSING Minister Mick de Brenni has committed to weeding out construction industry players who break the rules.
HOUSING Minister Mick de Brenni has committed to weeding out construction industry players who break the rules. John McCutcheon

Police probe into alleged construction fraud ongoing

A POLICE investigation remains ongoing into concerns company directors in the construction industry issued fraudulent statutory declarations their subcontractors had been paid to trigger progress payments from clients.

The Queensland Building and Construction Commission is under pressure from subcontractors demanding action against failed builders who not only fail to pay subbies under the terms of their agreements but who liquidators have found have traded while insolvent for up to three years, during which time their licences have been repeatedly renewed.

Subcontractors Alliance head Les Williams said subbies were licensed under the QBCC Act and deserved answers as did the public.

"We are talking big money and a lot of damage," Mr Williams said. 

A spokesperson for Housing Minister Mick de Brenni said anyone who has deliberately submitted false information to the regulator should face consequences.

He said that was why matters have already been referred to the Queensland Police Service.

"Advice from the Queensland Police Service is that the investigation is presently under way and remains ongoing," the spokesperson said.

"Through the Queensland Building Plan the government is examining whether penalties for submitting false information should be strengthened."

The Minister has committed to making public, after it had been received by the government, an independent audit into the financial documents supplied in applications to the QBCC for building licences where the builder has subsequently gone broke.

The audit would cover a number of high-profile collapses since 2013.

"Tim Nicholls and Tim Mander left the building regulator blind to the financial situation of builders when the ridiculous voluntary reporting scheme was introduced," the spokesperson said.

"The government is committed to strengthening financial requirements to provide security to the industry. The government expects ASIC to take appropriate action against any company suspected of trading while insolvent."

Mr Williams said subbies wanted an explanation as to why government contracts were allowed to be transferred from a failing company to a new one, effectively supporting a phoenix process to the detriment of those it says publicly it wants to protect.