FINALLY: Relief for unpaid highway subcontractors
GOOD news for the Pacific Highway Wave 5 contractors left out of pocket after Ostwald Bros went into liquidation as the NSW Government today announced they would provide financial assistance to the contractors.
Acting premier John Barilaro met with the affected small businesses in Coffs Harbour this morning to deliver the news in person.
The small businesses affected will receive financial assistance from the NSW Government by the end of July.
"It's been a long and extremely emotional time for this group, so I am very pleased to be delivering this news to them today," Mr Barilaro said.
"When I met with these subcontractors in May, I gave them my word that I would do everything in my power to help them by the end of July, and I am pleased to have honoured that promise.
"While today's outcome may bring relief for these subcontractors, I know they have suffered for so long, and in reality for many of them no amount of money will ever make up for what they've gone through," he said.
Mr Barilaro gave his personal mobile phone number to every subcontractor he met at the meeting in May, and he has maintained regular phone contact with them since.
The financial assistance for the affected small businesses will be administered by the Office of the NSW Small Business Commissioner.
The NSW Small Business Commissioner Robyn Hobbs will personally meet with each small business in the coming days to complete the required paperwork, before financial assistance is delivered.
Ms Hobbs said after months of working closely with each subcontractor, she was delighted to reach today's outcome.
"In December 2017 Minister Pavey asked me to investigate the matter, which led me to hear the harrowing tales of each small business that was left unpaid when Ostwald Bros went into liquidation," Ms Hobbs said.
"It is extremely pleasing to see the NSW Government has responded to the recommendations of my report," she said.
Mr Barilaro today thanked Small Business Commissioner and her team.
"I'd like to acknowledge the Small Business Commissioner for the way she and her team advocated for the subcontractors and worked tirelessly to have this issue resolved," Mr Barilaro said.
Ms Hobbs said that the NSW Government continues to consider ways that will provide certainty for businesses working on NSW Government projects.
Mr Barilaro said it was important that small businesses that work on NSW Government infrastructure projects have confidence that they will be supported, and that they will be paid.
Earlier this year the Federal Government was presented with the Murray Report, which is the latest report making recommendations relating to the Security of Payments Act (SOPA).
All of the Building Ministers across the country will be considering the Report's findings at the Building Ministers Forum in due course.