Local Media


March 11, 2019

Dodgy building firms who deliberately avoid paying workers will be forced to face the consequences of their actions under a Shorten Labor Government.
Member for Blair, Shayne Neumann MP, said if elected to government, Labor will work with the Queensland Government 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.
Not only does phoenix activity hurt hard working Australians, their families and their communities, but it costs the economy billions of dollars. On one estimate, phoenixing costs the Australian economy in excess of $5 billion per year, which is more than $200 for every person in Australia.
Today’s announcement builds on anti-phoenixing measures already announced by Labor:

  • Tradie Pay Guarantee: Labor will establish a new requirement for large Commonwealth construction projects that would see project bank accounts established that use cascading statutory trusts. This will ensure that if tradies do the work on time, they will get paid on time.
  • $7 million Tradie Litigation Fund: Labor will create a fund to give the Australian Securities and Investments Commission the ability to run more difficult court cases without draining the corporate watchdog’s resources.
  • Director Identification Number: Labor would require all company directors to obtain a unique Director Identification Number with a 100-point identification check, as well as increase penalties associated with phoenix activity.
  • Name and Shame: Labor would allow the Commissioner of Taxation to name individuals and entities as a penalty for the most serious tax offences. They could also apply to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission to have them formally seek disqualification orders for directors who engaged in or oversaw serious non-compliance.

Mr Neumann said just about every tradie in Ipswich, the Somerset Region and the Karana Downs region will have experienced the frustration of not being paid on time, or not being paid at all.

“Late payment and non-payment harm the financial and mental health of thousands who work in the construction sector. It’s a drag on productivity, and yet another form of unfairness on the job.
“Labor will stop dodgy bosses ripping off subbies, workers and taxpayers.
“If you’ve deliberately ripped off subcontractors, employees and taxpayers, you should lose your building licence. It’s as simple as that,” Mr Neumann said.
This will also support Labor’s broad agenda for reform of the building and construction industry which includes stronger and more effectively enforced regulation, national licensing of key building occupations and a ban on the importation of flammable cladding.