Rapid payment laws for Queensland building subbies

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Rapid payment laws for Queensland building subbies

New dispute resolution laws that provide interim payments to subcontractors in the Queensland building and construction industry are being developed. 

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New dispute resolution laws that provide interim payments to subcontractors in the Queensland building and construction industry are being developed. 

The Queensland Building and Construction Industry Payments Bill 2003 was given the go-ahead today and is expected to be introduced into the Queensland Parliament this year.

The new legislation will work in conjunction with the Better Building Industry Reforms and amendments to the Queensland Building Services Authority Act and the Subcontractors Charges’ Act.

Queensland Master Builders Executive Director, Graham Cuthbert told WorkplaceInfo he welcomed the Queensland Government’s decision to go ahead and develop the new laws.

The MBA have been in consultation with the Government regarding the proposed Bill.

According to Queensland Public Works and Housing Minister, Robert Schwarten, the new proposed laws applied to commercial building and construction contractors.

Resident owner contracts were dealt with under the Domestic Building Contracts Act 2000.

Schwarten and Queensland Premier Peter Beattie said the proposed laws would provide a speedy interim resolution to payment disputes and improve cash flow that would ultimately benefit workers and consumers.

‘The building and construction industry is particularly vulnerable to security of payment issues because it typically operates under a hierarchical chain of contracts with imbalances in bargaining power.’

The new laws would prevent the domino effect that occurred when one party in the building contracting chain failed to pay another, they added.

‘Rapid adjudication will provide a dispute resolution mechanism that allows a party alleging they are owed monies under a contract to promptly obtain payment on an interim basis.’

According to Schwarten, independent adjudicators with the relevant expertise would hear and determine disputes.

The adjudicators would have the power to order the part or whole payment of outstanding monies.

The independent adjudication system would not stop parties seeking a final resolution to their claim in a court or tribunal. 

The MBA’s Cuthbert said that under the draft proposals all claims that went through the rapid adjudication system would end up on the public record and the sub-contractors file.

Any party who was constantly being brought before the rapid adjudication system by sub-contractors for non-payment would soon get a bad name, he said.

He hoped the introduction of such a system would encourage parties to building contracts to resolve payment disputes between themselves rather than go through adjudication.

Monies ordered to be paid by an adjudicator would go straight to the sub-contractor owed the money, Cuthbert said.

There would be no conditions for putting the money into a trust account.

Also, subbies who were granted part payments under the adjudication system could recover the remainder through the relevant court or tribunal, he added.

The people selected as adjudicators would have to meet industry standards and be skilled and experienced in mediation.

There would also be a complaints process if parties to a dispute were not happy with the adjudicator, Cuthbert added.

 

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