A 2012 aerial view of West Ballina and the bypass construction works on the Pacific Highway. photo David Nielsen/The Northern Star
A 2012 aerial view of West Ballina and the bypass construction works on the Pacific Highway. photo David Nielsen/The Northern Star DAVID NIELSEN

Keeping an eye on highway contractors

OFFICERS from the Australian Building and Construction Commission were in the region last week to conduct compliance checks of contractors involved in the Woolgoolga to Ballina section of the Pacific Highway bypass.

Officers spoke to contractors in Yamba, Grafton and Coffs Harbour about their security of payment responsibilities and conducted compliance checks to make sure they're doing the right thing by their subcontractors.

The visit is part of the Australian Building and Construction Commission's Security of Payment campaign designed to help subcontractors receive their rightful payments in a timely manner.

The focus of the visit was to check that subcontractors are being paid all amounts due and payable and that code covered contractors are reporting disputed or delayed progress payments to the ABCC.

In August 2017 the collapse of Ostwald Bros left many subcontractors unpaid with the NSW Government having to pick up the tab.

ABC Commissioner Stephen McBurney said it was important contractors pay their subcontractors on time.

"If there are payment delays or disputes we expect these to be reported to the ABCC and that contractors work with their subcontractors to sort these out quickly and reasonably," Mr McBurney said.

"Contractors that breach the Code run the risk of a sanction that excludes them tendering for Commonwealth-funded building work for up to 12 months."

Mr McBurney said to help subcontractors, the ABCC, where it can, will seek payment for the subcontractor as voluntary rectification of Code breaches.

The ABCC has produced a range of security of payment resources, including guides and website content to help contractors and subcontractors. These are available at www.abcc.gov.au/securityofpayment.

Subcontractors concerned about their payments are encouraged to contact the ABCC on its 1800 003 338 hotline, or email to: enquiry@abcc.gov.au.