The Queensland Government is set to examine the role of property developers as part of a review of its building industry fairness reforms, following a recommendation from the Queensland Parliament’s Transport and Public Works Committee.
Minister for Public Works Mick de Brenni said the State Government’s Queensland Building Plan has already enhanced construction sector payment protections and the review is part of Queensland’s comprehensive and balanced approach.
“The Queensland Government has implemented major reforms to help ensure everyone in the building industry gets paid for the work they perform – on time, in full and every time,” he said.
“The next step is to consider whether further reforms are needed to ensure everyone who benefits from a booming building industry contributes their fair share.”
Mr de Brenni said the Parliamentary Transport and Public Works Committee heard in 2020 that developers are the driving force behind much of the work undertaken in the construction sector.
“When property developers do their job well, we get great outcomes,” he said.
“And we know when industry works together – as we have shown through the COVID pandemic – we get the best outcomes for everyone.
“But we know it is contractors and subcontractors who bear the burden arising from incomplete works, payment disputes and non-compliant works or products.
“As a result, the Committee recommended there be further consideration of developers’ financial and operational capacity, ethical behaviour and work practices.
“The review will consider the benefits of ensuring everyone is accountable for the financial security and sustainability of our $47.4 billion building industry, and the range of options to achieve this.”
Mr de Brenni said a Developer Review Panel has been appointed to expand the important work already done to enhance security of payment for those in the building industry by focusing on the role of developers.
“The panel will be chaired by industry professional Alison Quinn, who has more than 25 years’ experience as a chief executive officer and senior executive in the property development and aged care sectors,” he said.
“Through her various roles with public, private and government organisations, Ms Quinn has valuable operational and commercial expertise in the areas of property investment, funding, infrastructure and development.”
The other panel members are property investment firm chief executive Adrian Pozzo, construction advisory firm managing director Gina Patrick and respected lawyer John Payne.
Mr de Brenni said the work of the panel will be supported by a reference group comprised of key industry stakeholder representatives.
He said the reference group will be a key forum for engaging with the panel and will include peak industry bodies representing developers, the insurance sector, building and construction and the legal profession.
To help the review panel formulate its report, input will be sought from all parties through detailed consultation.
“The work of the panel will guide the agenda for any changes that are necessary,” Mr de Brenni said.
Master Builders Deputy CEO Paul Bidwell said Master Builders and the entire industry welcome the review.
“We know from bitter experience that late or non-payment is a blight on our industry and can have devastating implications down the contract chain. The reality is that problems frequently start at the top with owners and developers and trickle down to negatively impact builders, subcontractors and sub-subcontractors and suppliers,” Mr Bidwell said.
“When the security of payment legislation was first introduced, we stressed the need for developers and owners to be included if we are serious about solving payment issues. We’ll be urging the committee to consider this as part of the review process.”