Large construction companies that don’t pay subcontractors will be banned from applying for government work, under beefed-up laws in WA.

Complaints about late and non-payments to subcontractors have been rampant in WA’s building industry, with the troubled new Perth children’s hospital a notable example this year with head contractor John Holland accused of ripping off small businesses.

A new code of conduct would apply to the building and construction industry from January 1 with a “Building and Construction Compliance Unit” to monitor compliance, the government announced on Monday.

“If there is egregious conduct, consistent bad practice, serious breaches then yes, the penalty may be you will not be able to tender for government contracts and get the benefit of public money for a period of time,” Attorney-General and Commerce Minister Michael Mischin said.

The new code, changes to WA’s Construction Contracts Act and the introduction of Project Bank Accounts would support small business, help prohibit anti-competitive behaviour such as price fixing and sham contracting and there was scope to sanction head contractors, Finance Minister Sean L’Estrange said.

The ability to impose fines is also being considered.

  • Non payment ( stealing) – egregious conduct – bad practice – serious breaches- anti competitive behavior – price fixing – sham contracting – non compliant building products – compromised public safety – bullying – there must be far greater penalties than " no more government work" or fines. If union thugs can face criminal charges – then so should construction company execs. The " rule of law for everybody"

  • Isn't " ripping small business off" stealing. Has anybody in WA referred the matters to police ?

    • If it is then it is classed as a 'white collar' crime like many other 'criminal' behaviours and practices that circulate around our banking and financial sector. Most don't classify it as a 'criminal' – they just see it as the cost of doing business. And the tier 1 builders are in the business of being very big businesses. And we do have an ABCC (again) thanks to Malcolm but as tigers they are toothless when it comes to the big end of town.

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