Labor will back our subbies in Forde - Media Release

BRENDAN O’CONNOR MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT AND WORKPLACE RELATIONS
MEMBER FOR GORTON
 
ANDREW LEIGH MP
SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER
SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMPETITION AND PRODUCTIVITY
SHADOW MINISTER CHARITIES AND NOT-FOR-PROFITS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR TRADE IN SERVICES
MEMBER FOR FENNER

MURRAY WATT

LABOR SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND

DES HARDMAN

LABOR CANDIDATE FOR FORDE

LABOR WILL BACK OUR SUBBIES IN FORDE

This evening we met with sub-contractors in Forde to discuss the benefits of Labor’s Tradie Pay Guarantee and Tradie Litigation Fund.

We heard stories of subbies losing their homes and their savings, being unable to pay their own debts, and spending weeks of their life in court chasing money they’re owed. Electricians, tilers and builders told us about being burned by dodgy phoenix directors, who flaunted their ill-gotten gains, and managed to escape the reach of the law. 

Tradies across Queensland faced losses when the Cullen Group collapsed owing 500 subcontractors a total of $30 million. More than 500 unsecured creditors were left out of pocket when Ostwald Bros went into administration, a collapse which also saw 260 staff made redundant with another $4 million in entitlements owed.

Labor has a plan to look after subcontractors.

Subbies working on federal government projects will be protected from being left unpaid when dodgy businesses go bust through the implementation of Labor’s Tradie Pay Guarantee. A Shorten Labor Government will address this by requiring large Commonwealth construction projects to establish a specially structured account – using a cascading statutory trust - that ensures all businesses down the supply chain get paid on time.

In addition, we will create a $7 million Tradie Litigation Fund for subbies to access justice and see regulators take dodgy bosses to court and win.

Labor will also:

  • set up an efficient process for handling disputes
  • establish a federal security of payments legislative regime based on the recommendations of the Murray Review
  • work with the states and territories to harmonise schemes across the country where possible

Only a Shorten Labor Government will protect the livelihoods of small businesses, workers and subcontractors who fall victim to dodgy building bosses and ensure perpetrators face their day in court. 

The practice of so-called “phoenix activity” – where dodgy directors deliberately burn companies in an attempt to avoid their obligations to employees, government and honest businesses – is estimated to cost the Australian economy more than $5 billion per year. People who deliberately burn their companies should be subject to the full consequences of failing directors’ duties, including being liable for compensation, fines of up to $200,000 or five years behind bars.

If elected to government, Labor will also work with states and territories to cancel the building licenses of companies which have been caught phoenixing, a practise where dodgy directors deliberately burn companies in an attempt to avoid their obligations to employees, government, home owners and honest businesses.

These measures - along with previous commitments such as naming and shaming phoenix directors, a Director Identification Number, and increasing penalties associated with phoenix activity – will help protect Australian jobs and the economy.

It’s time the Morrison Government stopped going soft on corporate crooks, and adopted Labor’s plans to crack down on dodgy phoenix activity.

Only Labor will stand up for tradies in Forde and stop dodgy firms ripping off their subbies.

ENDS

Authorised by Noah Carroll ALP Canberra.


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