AMCA Australia | South Australia | Advocacy update

02 May 2022 | SA

AMCA Australia | SA met with Nick Xenophon who is running as an Independent in the Senate at the next federal election, to discuss the Murray Review on Security of Payment and Unfair Contract Terms.  Mr Xenophon is advocating for the recommendations within the Murray Review to be adopted and advised what is needed is a consistent approach which can only be achieved by enacting national legislation.  

If successful, Mr Xenophon will legislate Security of Payment laws for the Building and Construction industry.  

Mr Xenophon advised the recommendations should be adopted federally with Cascading Statutory Trust accounts to be part of these recommendations.

Whilst it is humbling to hear Mr Xenophon discuss the very issues our industry has faced for a number of years, it will take time to make necessary changes to Legislation moving forward.  

Further to this meeting, Mr Xenophon and John Murray AM spoke on Adelaide 5AA and ABC radio, and was also provided some air time with Channel 7 news.

Mr Xenophon spoke on the Murray Review which examined the lack of Security of Payment Law in Australia.  This review was requested by the Commonwealth and completed in 2017.  The review provided 86 recommendations including Security of Payment,

Unfair Contract Terms and Statutory Trusts.

To date there has been no action by the government on the recommendations in the review, noting there are thousands of specialist contractors, sub-contractors and tradespeople not being paid on time.

With builders going broke in the eastern states and one recently in WA the Security of Payment Laws needs to be legislated.

Mr Xenophon discussed creating Statutory Trust Accounts which are important to ensure sub-contractors are paid, nothing has happened in the four years since the review was provided to government. This is not sustainable for the economy and not good for business, and there are a lot of questions around this issue.

There is no legislation currently, there are no statutory trusts protecting sub-contractors ensuring they are paid, there are State laws, but they are weak.

John Murray AM – conducted the review requested by the commonwealth government to fix security of payment laws and stated current state-based laws are fragmented and incomplete.

Government has recognised that 85% of building work is carried out by specialist contractors, tradespeople, and sub-contractors with the overwhelming majority of those who are small businesses and rely on receiving regular progress payments to ensure they can pay their employees and suppliers.

The incidence of low payments is plagued, the construction industry has the highest incidence of insolvency in the country.

Some state laws are better than others but no state government has yet introduced legislation that can secure security of payment or statutory trust accounts.

AMCA Australia | SA will continue to advocate on behalf of members for better terms and conditions regarding both Security of Payment and Unfair Contract terms.

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If you have any concerns on this matter, or would like to add your voice to ours, please contact: Demi Brown, [email protected] - Executive Manager | Central Region | SA & NT