Labor will stop theft of workers' wages

Published: 29 Jun 2016

Every year, subbies and workers in the construction industry are robbed of $3 billion in unpaid wages.

This money is mostly owed to small and medium sized businesses in the construction subcontracting chain and has dramatic and occasionally tragic consequences for businesses, families and communities left to pick up the pieces following insolvencies.

The construction industry suffers more than most from phoenix operators who strip valuable assets from their companies and then send them into liquidation, only to rise from the ashes debt-free and at liberty to inflict further financial damage on the industry.

In the construction industry, far too many sub-contractors have outstanding invoices that are often months overdue or simply never paid. In recent years, over one in five companies entering external administration were construction-related.

  • Corporate insolvencies rip off workers, small businesses and the community in unpaid taxes.
  • ASIC reports put the figure of unpaid taxes and charges for construction companies for 2013-14 at a median amount of $487 million in round terms.

The Turnbull/Abbott Government has done nothing and the Liberal Party have no plans to address this issue if they win government on July 2.

Labor wants to ensure people are paid for the work they complete.

If Labor is elected, they will:

  • Introduce a federal Security of Payments framework.
  • Bring in rapid dispute resolution for payment adjudication that will ensure small construction businesses receive income that is rightfully theirs.
  • Formulate and trial a regime of Project Bank Accounts on major Commonwealth government projects. These Project Bank Accounts will ensure payments flow from the top of the supply chain all the way to the bottom, where the majority of small businesses perform their work.

Unpaid work is simply unfair.

With contract work becoming more prevalent in a number of industries, Labor wants to ensure that the theft of money from workers and businesses stops.

Protect your livelihood. Put the Liberals last.