Housing and Public Works Minister Mick de Brenni today (Friday) welcomed the Queensland Building and Construction Commission’s (QBCC) announcement it would provide funding for a public examination into the collapse of construction companies Cullen Group Australia, and Queensland One Homes.
“These collapses occurred under a regime where the Commission basically had one hand tied behind its back because the LNP had watered down the legislation,” Mr de Brenni said.
“The first-term Palaszczuk Government took to the 2017 election a commitment supporting such an inquiry because this government is backing businesses to go on with the job – and create jobs.
“We are also delivering on our election commitment to implement historic Building Industry Fairness (BIF) legislation, which will deliver further security for Queensland subcontractors in Queensland’s $45 billion building and construction industry.
“Our new laws will help ensure Queensland’s small businesses are paid in full, on time, every time.
“Ensuring subbies and suppliers are paid for the work they perform means industry can stop wasting time chasing late or unpaid invoices and can instead focus on growing their businesses and creating jobs for Queenslanders.”
As part of a public examination, directors of the two failed companies could be forced to appear before the Federal Court to give evidence.
“A public examination could uncover further details about how the companies operated and examine the affairs of the key parties and decision makers,” Mr de Brenni said.
“Information discovered via a public examination could assist police to bring criminal charges against individual directors.”
The QBCC will contribute $300,000 towards the examination, which is expected to get underway before the end of the year.
QBCC Commissioner Brett Bassett said the regulator had an oversight role in the examination as a committee member for the Queensland One Homes investigation, and observatory role for the Cullen Group Australian investigation.
“A public examination will further assist authorities get to the bottom of these two significant building and construction company collapses,” Mr Bassett said.
“The Cullen Group collapse in December 2016, saw approximately 500 creditors owed more than $18 million.
“Queensland One Homes went into liquidation in July 2017 with $6 million worth of debts to sub-contractors, suppliers, financiers and the Australian Tax Office. The QBCC referred both cases to ASIC for suspected illegal phoenix activity.
“These collapses have had a devastating effect on the people and communities around them, and as the regulator, we will do everything in a power to rid the industry of these unscrupulous operators.
“The QBCC is currently investing heavily in our systems and resources so that we can potentially predict financially risky companies before they crash,” he said.