WELCOME RELIEF: Painter Leon Embrey and his wife Leanne from LNL Painting. Mr Embrey was left in the lurch for work on a Maryborough project and has called for more security for local subbies working on projects run by big building companies.
WELCOME RELIEF: Painter Leon Embrey and his wife Leanne from LNL Painting. Mr Embrey was left in the lurch for work on a Maryborough project and has called for more security for local subbies working on projects run by big building companies. Alistair Brightman

Coast subbies welcome statewide probe of building industry

WIDE Bay subcontractors left in the lurch by big building companies have welcomed the announcement of a State Government-led enquiry into allegations of subbie rip-offs.

It follows a campaign spearheaded by News Corp calling for a taskforce to look into the spate of construction industry insolvencies across Queensland since 2013.

The campaign revealed up to 7000 trade creditors across the state had been unpaid to the tune of more than half a billion dollars, including some on the Fraser Coast.

LNL Painting co-owner Leon Embrey said the inquiry would help improve the situation but its effectiveness would depend on how in-depth it was.

He was forced to chase about $60,000 owed to his company by Sommer and Staff for painting works on the Maryborough Government Office Building in 2017.

Sommer and Staff entered voluntary administration in September last year while working on the PL Travers Story Bank and upgrades at the Maryborough Hospital.

"There needs to be a lot more clarity with some of these jobs as a start,” Mr Embrey said.

"If it's possible, set up a pool of money to pay subbies for their work and that account can be cleared when the job is finished.”

It's a solution MVO Services project manager Graham Gale also wants to see implemented to prevent lives being ruined.

Mr Gale's company lost money on Wide Bay projects in 2010 and 2012 after the major contractors went broke.

"I'm pleased the inquiry is finally happening, but disappointed it's taken so long and so many people have been damaged,” Mr Gale said.

"The way some of these companies were operating, they were siphoning wages away from subbies.”

Hervey Bay businessman Ian Glaister said the inquiry would hopefully give subbies a leg to stand on when they were not paid what is owed to them.