THE collapse of Rockhampton builder JM Kelly is a kick in the guts to hundreds of central Queensland construction workers and their families, CFMEU State Secretary Michael Ravbar said.
“This latest corporate failure in the building industry underscores the need for tighter regulation of a sector where there are far too many rogue operators prepared to cut corners, and cut subbies and workers adrift.”
“With JM Kelly we are talking about a group that has form, and a reputation for failing to pay subcontractors,” he said.
JM Kelly has been in the sights of the Queensland Building and Construction Commission for the past two years, following the collapse of a related company and continued complaints from subcontractors relating to unpaid bills. And in 2011 the group was fined $600,000 by the Federal Court for illegal price fixing with government contracts.
“As is always the case, it is the small subbies and the workers who suffer, while the builder walks away from the wreckage – often only to reinvent himself with another building company down the track,” Mr Ravbar said.
“Too much regulatory effort is wasted on policing unions and the workers they represent, rather than targeting the real issues facing the construction industry such as insolvencies like this, sham contracting, safety, the exploitation of foreign workers and the lack of apprenticeships.”
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