Subcontractors in Queensland could lose up to $2 million on state government funded public housing sites after yet another builder has been placed into liquidation, media reports suggest.
In the latest development, the Daily Telegraph has reported that Brisbane based Batir Pty Ltd has gone into liquidation.
Government tender documents indicate that the builder has at least nine government contracts as at last year valued at almost $6.4 million including social housing projects at Burleigh, Tugun and Labrador, the Daily Telegraph reported
Quoting Acquire Trade Credit business development manager Nathan Wrobel, the newspaper reported that uninsured losses for subcontractors could amount to around $2 million.
The collapse follows fears that loses in respect of the earlier collapse of the Cullen Group could be as high as $30 million after it was revealed at the first creditors’ meeting that losses could exceed the originally reported $18 million.
The losses follow moves on the part of the government to introduce project bank accounts on all projects worth more than $1 million under an arrangement which will see amounts paid by the principal to the head contractor paid directly into a special trust account as opposed to the head contractor’s main bank account.
At the time, Premier Anastacia Palaszczuk said unscrupulous operators had been ‘using non-payment (of subcontractors) as a business model’.
But subcontractors remain upset about the delayed implementation of the accounts, which will not be mandatory until 2019 (although they will be introduced on government projects of between $1 million and $10 million in value in 2018).
Subcontractor representatives are concerned about the emotional impact which this may have on some tradespeople.
“As subcontractors ourselves and as subcontractors who have lost money we understand the levels of stress and anger some of you may be experiencing after the recent collapses of building companies,” a notice on the Support Your Subbies Facebook page read.
“Thoughts of whether you will lose your business, have to put off staff or be able to keep your family home might be overwhelming you at the moment. This stress can also and probably will flow over into home life.”
“Some of you may even be experiencing thoughts of suicide or self-harm. Please don’t be ashamed to get help. Don’t blame yourself. Don’t doubt yourself as a business person. Talk to other subbies who understand, see your local GP or contact services like Lifeline or Mates in Construction.”
Opposition housing and public works spokesman Stephen Bennett has questions the amount of due diligence which was completed by the department before awarding Bator work on government projects.
If you or anyone you know needs help, call Mates in Construction (1300 642 111) (for those in construction) or Lifeline (13 11 14).