West Australian construction industry sub contractors have been granted additional protections under changes to the Small Business Development Corporation Act.
The amendments will boost the powers of WA’s Small Business Commissioner David Eaton to receive and investigate complaints of mistreatment of subcontractors and small businesses on construction projects.
The reforms will also underpin the establishment of a specialised investigations and inquiry unit within the Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC) aimed at improving corporate and government behaviour and removing unfair practices.
Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell has welcomed changes, which were tabled by Small Business Minister Paul Papalia.
“This legislation is a step in the right direction,” says Carnell
The Bill will expand the Commissioner’s current investigative and reporting functions enabling him to consider the actions of the private, local and state government sectors that affect the commercial activity of small business.
Carnell also welcomed plans for WA to become the first state to establish statutory trusts to protect payments to subcontractors.
“These are two pieces of legislation that will increase protections for subcontractors and small businesses."
WA Attorney-General John Quigley is preparing a cabinet submission on statutory trusts to be presented later this year, in preparation for tabling in Parliament early next year.
Both Minister Papalia, and Commissioner Eaton have been advocating in this space for a number of years.
Image credit: John Salvino