Unpaid highway workers

Ed,

On November 2 the DEX released an article about the unpaid highway workers, following the failure of Ostwald Bros., complete with several excuses by the Minister for Roads, Melinda Pavey.

Nationals Minister Pavey blames the unpaid workers themselves, for not ensuring “due diligence” and seems to refer to them as a “weak link in the chain”.

Three weeks ago I emailed our federal and local Members of Parliament, lamenting the fact that this seems to happen on nearly every major Government-funded project. I asked both Members why this is so, and if they are interested in doing something to ensure that the small subbies, owner/operators and local suppliers are not bankrupted by greedy fly-by-night contractors in future. Mr Hogan didn’t even bother to reply, obviously not interested, which will be remembered by electors.
To his credit, Chris Gulaptis replied immediately to tell me that his Government paid the money to the head contractor but has no way of checking whether the obligatory Stat Decs were falsified. He goes on to say that anyone falsifying a Stat Dec is liable to heavy penalties or gaol.
My interpretation of Minister Pavey’s statement is that she sees us local subbies, service providers and owner/operators as simply hayseed cannon-fodder. Perhaps she has never been out into the real world? After regular visits to the highway for self-congratulatory photo-shoots she flies back to the city in time to collect her well-earned $6,000 paypacket every Friday, and dreams of the lifetime pension awaiting her. Meanwhile, in the Clarence Valley, a lot of families are left facing bankruptcy or forced closure of small business, and all are facing a very bleak Christmas indeed.
When elected, Premier Berejiklian claimed to be a straight shooter, so I wonder if she is prepared to muscle-up and attend to two things? Firstly, prosecute whoever falsified the paperwork, and secondly, trace and retrieve the money which is due to the unpaid workers. Money can’t just disappear, someone has it, and it should be easily traceable. Or would it just be another “Where’s Wally” game?

Tony Beadman,
South Grafton