TRNational Buildplan was a construction company involved in arranging construction of many large building contracts throughout Australia. A large number of those projects are Government funded infrastructure jobs, many of which are in the north west of New South Wales.

National Buildplan went into administration on 8 April 2013 and more than likely will end up in liquidation.

The collapse has left local contractors out of pocket for many millions of dollars.

We are yet to see the full effects of the insolvency which will involve contractors retrenching staff, contractors unable to pay their own debts resulting in further retrenchments and the closure of contractors’ businesses, some of which have already closed.

After the collapse of a number of high profile construction companies, the New South Wales Government commissioned the Collins Report last year.

The key recommendation was the establishment of a Statutory Construction Trust for projects greater than $1 million. The idea was that the Statutory Trust would receive the progress payments from the principal and the trustee would pay the sub-contractors direct.

Sadly the recommendations of the report have not been implemented however it is hoped that the anguish that our local contractors and employees are now suffering will motivate the Government into taking swift action to reform the building and construction industry.

I also ask, how long has the Government, which includes the Government departments who are administering contracts such as Health Infrastructure and Public Works, known that National Buildplan was in financial trouble?

There is evidence to suggest that various Government departments were well aware of the potential insolvency a number of weeks ago having met the company to discuss these issues.

Further anecdotal evidence suggests that National Buildplan were rejected as a potential tenderer for a large Government infrastructure job more than two months ago based on its perceived risky financial position.

What did the Government think when sub-contractors walked off the Nepean Hospital job on two separate occasions based on non payment.

Surely the Government should have taken notice and immediately reviewed the financial position of the head contractor and taken action to protect the sub-contractor’s payments. After all, it was the Government who commissioned the Collins Report .They were fully aware of the risk that a subcontractors takes in such contracts.

Is the Government not required, prior to the tender and during the construction process to monitor the financial health of its head contractors? Was this done?

It is time for the sub-contractors, their workers and families to take a stand on this issue and seek a Government rescue package for the sub-contractors who are left stranded and to change the laws to prevent this situation happening again.

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