CFMEU NSW has warned that developers are using the pandemic as an excuse to withhold payments owed to construction workers and subcontractors, for work that has already been completed.
On Wednesday, Darren Greenfield, CFMEU NSW Construction Secretary, detailed that NSW subcontractors and workers are owed millions in late payments from developers.
“In recent weeks I have spoken to subcontractors whose businesses are being devastated and the jobs of workers put at risk because they are owed massive amounts by big-name builders and developers who simply refuse to pay on time,” he said.
“It is a chronic issue in the industry that has been growing worse for years and which is now a significant risk to the viability of many smaller operators who do the bulk of the work and employ most of the workers.”
“Payment disputes in the NSW construction industry have almost doubled in the June quarter, with figures reported today showing claims for adjudication jumped from $114 million to $225 million over that time.”
Mr Greenfield said both state and federal governments are sitting on recommendations from multiple reports to fix the problem by enacting security of payment laws that would stop builders and developers using money owed to subcontractors and workers to boost their own cashflows.
“Payments are being withheld for months and even years and subcontractors who employ the workers who do the work face going to the wall while being forced to underwrite the profits of some of the biggest builders and developers in the industry.”
Mr Greenfield noted that the Federal Government needs to enact the recommendations of the 2017 Murray Review into security of payments, particularly around implementing statutory trusts, to protect workers and smaller industry operators.