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WA rolls out new laws to help subbies

AAP logoAAP 30/09/2016 Greg Roberts

The use of "project bank accounts" has begun in WA to tackle the endemic problem of subcontractors not being paid on major works.

The accounts will be controlled by the WA government and are being rolled out from Friday for government projects valued at $1.5 million to $100 million, but not private jobs.

There have been numerous scandals involving subcontractors complaining that they had not been paid in 2016 and past years, including on the $1.2 billion new Perth Children's Hospital, the multibillion-dollar Elizabeth Quay development, the new stadium and airport expansion.

PBAs aim to ring-fence and protect money owed to subcontractors.

However, there has been criticism of the fact the accounts won't be compulsory for WA's largest projects, worth more than $100 million - some of which have attracted the most complaints by subcontractors.

WA Finance Minister Sean L'Estrange said subcontractors would benefit from greater certainty and speed of payment.

"Project bank accounts will play an important role in addressing the security of payment concerns of subcontractors working on government-funded projects, and complement recently announced changes to the Construction Contracts Act 2004," he said.

"The first project is expected to be the Rapids Landing primary school in Margaret River, with a value of $12.8 million, and by June 30 next year, it's expected up to 30 contracts will use PBAs with a combined value of about $220 million."

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