THE plight of 30 Shoalhaven subcontractors, owed millions from a multi-million dollar project at HMAS Albatross, has been raised in federal parliament.
Gilmore MP Ann Sudmalis has called on governments to establish a prevention mechanism for non-payment to subcontractors.
“In Gilmore the construction industry is the catalyst for our marginal employment increase,” she said.
“We cheer when projects are announced, particularly when government-initiated, creating jobs, income and growth.
“Last week we had the devastating repeat of a mid-level company going well beyond the 45 days from end-of-month payment, meaning the roll down of payment did not reach local subbies.
“The debts are unpaid.
“Instead there is an announcement: the company is under administration and, ‘Sorry for any inconvenience’.
“Why don't we hear more about this appalling practice?
“Often there is an inference, or a ‘read between the lines’, that if the subbie speaks up they will not get work again.
“This is immoral — it is economic blackmail.
“This payment default has occurred on the watch of all governments, and we must now take up the challenge and work on a resolution to this dreadful process.”
A number of Shoalhaven trucking companies and suppliers are owed between $3 million and $5 million after Canberra-based civil engineering company, Hewatt's Earthmoving, was placed into administration last week.
Subcontractors staged a peaceful protest last week when six trucks parked on Braidwood Road near the site.
Spokesman Mark Nelson from Co-ordinated Logistics said the protest could be stepped up and potentially close down the work site unless workers received owed payments.