‘It’s like play­ing Rus­sian roulette with your life’

The Gold Coast Bulletin - - NEWS - KATHLEEN SKENE

A SMALL busi­ness owner says he will lose ev­ery­thing if Gro­con does not pay him $40,000 owed for work he’s done to the Com­mon­wealth Games ath­letes vil­lage since Septem­ber.

The trades­man said Gro­con rep­re­sen­ta­tives had stopped an­swer­ing his calls last week — un­til he emailed them to say he’d con­tacted the Bul­letin and the phone rang within min­utes.

“We’re a small com­pany, there are only four of us and this has hap­pened be­fore,” he said.

“They called and said to wait, that they'd pay soon – but they haven’t given a date.”

John God­dard, founder of sup­port group Sub­bies United, said he had re­ceived calls from sub­bies who threat­ened self harm and sui­cide – men and women who had noth­ing left to lose and nowhere else to turn.

“There is a pal­pa­ble fear out there,” he said.

“Most sub­bies would use their home as se­cu­rity for an over­draft or these days a line of credit but when sub­bies sign a con­tract, they don’t know if they will be paid for their work.

“It’s like play­ing Rus­sian roulette with your busi­ness, your home, your fam­ily and your life.”

The Build­ing In­dus­try Fair­ness (Se­cu­rity of Pay­ment) Bill was passed by par­lia­ment two days be­fore the elec­tion was called.

It in­tro­duces project bank ac­counts which hold sub­con­trac­tor pay­ments in trust, to help en­sure small and medium con­struc­tion busi­nesses are paid in full, on time and ev­ery time.

They were brought for­ward in the wake of a string of con­struc­tion com­pany fail­ures, in­clud­ing the $6 mil­lion col­lapse of Queens­land One Homes and $1 mil­lion fail­ure of Com­mon­wealth Games Vil­lage con­trac­tor Ware Build­ing.

Les Wil­liams of the Sub­con­trac­tors Al­liance said the new laws, which are not ret­ro­spec­tive, would re­move bil­lions of dol­lars of risk from small sub­con­tract­ing busi­nesses.

“The laws have ad­dressed these prob­lems, but un­for­tu­nately too late for these Gro­con guys,” he said.

Les Wil­liams of the Sub­con­trac­tors Al­liance.

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