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Open Letter to Premier Mike Baird

6 March 2015

For and on Behalf of NSW Building & Construction Subcontractors

Dear Premier,

Re: New South Wales Building and Construction Businesses

Recoup acts for a large number and variety of consultants, suppliers, subcontractors, contractors, and builders who carry out construction work and/or provide related goods and services in the state of New South Wales.

We act for them in the capacity of ‘Debt Recovery Specialist Consultants’, using the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 1999 legislation.

This legislation is vital to many mums’ and dads’ small businesses that are the main source of income to these families. This legislation is also vital to both small and large businesses generally, ensuring payment for their work carried out, and/or related goods and services provided, is easily obtained with minimum outlay, and minimum delay.

We write to you to strongly emphasise the importance of this legislation to all stakeholders in the New South Wales building and construction industry, and to ask on their behalf that you not go down the path of Campbell Newman, who made significant changes to Queensland’s counterpart legislation only late last year that has severely weakened the power of the legislation to assist claimants obtain their entitlements.

We ask for an undertaking from you that you will ensure that no changes are made to this legislation while ever you are Premier of our state that will water down the crucial balance of power that this legislation provides for helping claimants obtain their entitlements.

In fact, we ask that you instruct the relevant Minister and government department to work toward further bolstering the legislation to ensure unscrupulous debtors are prevented from evading payment by way of the following suggested changes.

  1. Reference Dates

We suggest that the legislation be changed to identify reference dates as occurring on each ‘calendar’ month, instead of each ‘named’ month, and that there be twelve reference dates available to a claimant after the last time they worked on a project.

  1. Trust Accounts

We suggest that the legislation is changed to require that any party in the contracting chain who receives payment for work carried out by a third party put the payment due to the third party into trust until it is due to be paid to that third party. We also suggest that this will apply to all payments, not just retentions, and to all projects over and above the value of $50,000.

  1. Due Date for Payment

We suggest that the due date for payment be changed back to the default of ten business days, and that the current ‘fifteen and thirty business day’ default become the maximum period allowed as a due date for payment.

In closing, we would like to advise you that Recoup is holding a workshop which will help ‘everyday builders’ focus on how this legislation can be best utilised to manage relationships and claims. We invite you, or the relevant Minister, or a representative, to take the opportunity to briefly address the workshop. It is being held at ‘The Hall’, Auburn Baptist Church, 16 Harrow Road Auburn NSW 2144, on 12 March 2015, 3pm. We will have the media in attendance, and hope that we can all make the most of this opportunity to spread far and wide the good news of this vital piece of legislation and your government’s commitment to it.

I thank you for taking the time to hear our concerns and requests. I trust that our values and aspirations align with yours, and I look forward to your reply.

Yours faithfully

RECOUP Contractor Debt Recovery