Queensland’s building industry is being given more time to prepare for the further expansion of the trust account framework which provides additional security of payment to smaller industry players.
Minister for Public Works Mick de Brenni said the building industry had been hard hit by COVID shortages, the overheated HomeBuilder grants and now the floods.
Mr de Brenni said the new timeframes – which would grant nine months more for smaller operators to adopt the changes – had come after industry groups and participants had asked for more time.
Already the framework includes eligible private, local government, statutory authorities and government-owned corporations’ contracts valued $10 million or more.
It had been planned to expand it on 1 July 2022 to include eligible private, local government, statutory authorities and government-owned corporations’ contracts valued at $3 million or more (Phase 3), and on 1 January 2023 to include all eligible contracts valued $1 million or more (Phase 4).
Phase 3 would now begin on 1 April 2023 and Phase 4 on 1 October 2023.
“The $47 billion building and construction industry plays a critical role in Queensland’s economy,” Mr de Brenni said.
“The industry is experiencing an Australia-wide shortage of skilled trades and building materials which is resulting in delays and cost increases in the building process.
“Now, on top of all that we’ve had the floods, causing even more pressure for the industry.
“We understand people need time to recover and for everything to stabilise before pushing ahead further with these much-needed reforms.”
Mr de Brenni said analysis of industry readiness for expansion of the trust account framework has enabled application to large contractors from 1 January 2022 however it identified additional time for smaller contractors would be beneficial to the framework’s overall success.
“This analysis, which included 40 consultation sessions with stakeholders from all sectors of the industry, considered the state of the industry and its readiness for the next phases,” he said.
“The findings gave us the confidence to go ahead with the process of applying project trust accounts, including retention trust accounts, to private sector contractors working on projects over $10M on 1 January 2022, which we did, but we are now providing a window of extra time for smaller operators.
“Because of the significance of these changes, and the need for industry to be fully across them, the next phase will now start on 1 April 2023.”
Mr de Brenni said the final round, Phase 4, will begin on 1 October 2023.
“These two remaining phases are the final step for roll out of the trust framework and will bring peace of mind to thousands more subcontractors,” he said.
“Already the industry is a better place to work because of the framework that is in place.”
The Minister reassured industry that in the interim, they can continue to use the other existing security of payment protections available including adjudication, payment withholding requests, charges over property, subcontractors’ charges and monies owed complaints.
The Minister said everyone deserves to be paid in full, on time and every time for the work they’ve done.
“These two remaining phases are the final stages for the roll out of the nation leading trust account framework and will bring peace of mind to thousands more tradies,” he said.
“It’s well worth protecting this vital part of Queensland’s economy and the livelihoods of these workers.”
Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen and Minister for Public Works and Procurement
The Honourable Mick de Brenni