Subbies' plight reaches parliament

Local sub contractors, owned millions of dollars on a project at HMAS Albatross,  take part in a peaceful protest on Braidwood Road.

Local sub contractors, owned millions of dollars on a project at HMAS Albatross, take part in a peaceful protest on Braidwood Road.

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.

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