Legal flaw shielding construction insolvency
QUEENSLAND'S building regulator has been blind since 2013 to the financial integrity of those it licenses to operate in this state.
The Queensland Building and Construction Commission says that was the last year those who were already licensed had to provide annually, audited financial accounts to support the licence class which governed their maximum annual turnover.
Only builders who were seeking a change in their licence class, or those seeking a licence for the first time, were required to provide information.
Housing Minister Mick de Brenni said there had been no way for the QBCC to see the financial health of a licensee after now deputy LNP leader Tim Mander removed mandatory reporting requirements during the Newman Government.
Mr de Brenni said the QBCC was conducting targeted investigations of licensees suspected of exceeding their licence class. But he said it could be like searching for a needle in a haystack..
The Palaszczuk Government would introduce on January 1, 2019, changes to minimum financial requirements amended by the former Newman Government in 2014.
It would shortly release detail of the new regime.
The Subcontractors Alliance has lobbied all levels of government from 2014 to improve payment security in an industry rife with late, under, and non payment.
It has repeatedly questioned why failed building companies later shown to have traded insolvent for a number of years, had not come to the attention of the building regulator.
"The laws around minimum financial requirements in Queensland were changed in 2014 and apply to all licensees," a QBCC spokesperson said.
"Since then, licensees have not been required to lodge an annual financial report, and the QBCC does not have the power to request annual financial reporting from licensees.
"This is the law as it currently stands."
The spokesperson said all licensees retained a legal obligation to comply with their maximum financial revenue and must disclose to the QBCC any occasion when their maximum revenue exceeded the allowable limit.
"A licensee who fails to meet this obligation may be subject to penalty or other sanctions," the spokesperson said.
In the absence of licensee financial accounts the QBCC has used the lodgement of insurance premiums by builders to monitor the value of work being carried out.
It can also act on monies-owed complaints from sub contractors.