Labor’s “Tradie Pay Guarantee” policy announced today is a positive step in highlighting the important contribution building and construction makes to the community and economy, but caution must be taken to avoid adopting overly simple solutions to complex problems.
Denita Wawn, CEO of Master Builders Australia said, “The need to ensure small and family businesses and subcontractors are paid in full and on-time is crucial. The few who deliberately do the wrong thing make it harder for the overwhelming majority who do the right and comply with the law.”
“Builders and subcontractors will welcome the increased focus of both major parties on improving the standard of commercial conduct within industry, particularly the need to reduce differences between current Security of Payment regimes maintained by the States and Territories. Existing laws adopt different rules and take different approaches to what is essentially the same problem making it harder for all building industry participants to understand the law and increase compliance costs,” she said.
“Caution should be shown in terms of using project bank accounts and trusts for construction projects performing Commonwealth building work. There has yet to be a reliable local assessment of whether such arrangements will represent a meaningful solution to a complex problem and run the risk of having significant adverse outcomes for small business and subcontractors,” Denita Wawn said.
“Industry will also be keen to ensure that Labor’s policy does not duplicate or add to the vast array of existing and proposed reporting obligations that already apply to building and construction, such as the Taxable Payments Annual Report or the proposed Payment Times Reporting Framework,” she said.
“All political parties must ensure they focus on adopting solutions that are evidence-based, effective and lasting while also ensuring that compliance with existing laws is being appropriately enforced – a key reason that underpinned building industry support for Labor’s Director Identifier Number (DIN) policy as now adopted by Government,” Denita Wawn said.
“Improving the standard of commercial conduct in the building and construction industry is a key issue. Master Builders urges all political parties to ensure they commit to working with industry to ensure outcomes are effective and lasting, while resisting simple solutions to complex problems,” Denita Wawn said.