Bias claims delay changes to Building Act

PROPOSED changes to the construction industry payments act due to be introduced next month have been delayed following harsh criticisms.

The State Parliament's Transport, Housing and Local Government committee has instead called for further consultation on amendments to the Building Construction Industry Payment Act.

The move comes after questions were raised about why untested allegations of bias by representatives of principal contractors were given more weight than the government's own data that showed none existed.

Gold Coast construction industry barrister Jonathan Sive told a recent hearing of the committee that any bias in the system was already weighted in favour of principal contractors. The proposed amendments would serve, he said, to extenuate that bias.

Committee member and new Palmer United Party State Leader Carl Judge said yesterday that any amendments to existing legislation should start by improving security of payment for sub contractors.

Mr Judge said the government should have been guided by the findings of the recent NSW Collins Inquiry into that state's construction industry. He accused the LNP of failing to deliver properly researched options for consideration.

Earlier this month, Housing Minister Tim Mander said the proposed bill would extend the grounds for disciplinary action to include the failure of a contractor to pay a sub contractor in accordance with the contract.

"This is a huge win for all subbies who want and deserve security of payment,'' he said.

Mr Sive questioned the claim.

"There is a distinct difference between prompt payment and having the money secured, for example, by way of a construction trust and disciplinary action taken against a recalcitrant respondent that does nothing to secure money for the subcontractor but only permits the Commission to take disciplinary action against the respondent."



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