TIME TO STOP SUBBIE ROT
THE Gold Coast has worked hard to maximise prosperity and sustained growth as a lasting legacy of next year’s Commonwealth Games.
But it must include iron-clad protection for a major artery of our economy, subcontractors.
The Grocon debacle uncovered by the Bulletin this week reinforces the need for tougher penalties for developers who fail to pay their workers.
The high-profile collapse of building companies in the past year has come at a huge cost to hundreds of subcontractors. Think Cullen Group, Bluestone and Batir. Gold Coast families forced to write-off millions of dollars simply for doing their job.
That list now includes the mob behind one of the Games marquee projects.
The village contract meant the city would give up one of its best assets so it could stage a world-class sporting event at cost price and Grocon, in transforming Parklands Showgrounds, would reap the financial benefits of selling the apartments used by the athletes.
The Bulletin sounded the alarm on Grocon a year ago when it revealed the construction giant had secretly approached the government for more than $50 million so the Games village could be finished. Yesterday, the Bulletin learned the developer has lost more than $20 million on the deal.
Grocon no longer has a Queensland licence. Tradies are owed millions and Christmas is just over a month away.
After the Gold Coast Bulletin’s relentless push for better protection of tradies from rogue operators, Housing Minister Mick de Brini in August fast-tracked new laws in Parliament. They include higher penalties, jail time and life-time bans for shonky operators who create new businesses to escape their debts. Subbies say the laws would be the best in Australia
Trouble is, they are sitting in Brisbane gathering dust because they are yet to be legislated.
Along with small business, subbies are the lifeblood of a Gold Coast economy that is leading the state. Everyday people getting on with their lives.
It is too easy for shonky fat-cat developers to wipe their hands, turn and run when the going gets tough and that needs to stop. Now.