Commerce Minister media statement – Cook Government completes reforms on subcontractor payments

Media statement from Commerce Minister Sue Ellery

  • Final stage of improved protections for building and construction subcontractors now in effect
  • Landmark reforms to ensure timely payments across the contracting chain
  • Three-year project delivered new legislation, a retention trust scheme, fairer contracting practices and strengthened regulatory powers

The Cook Government has delivered on its commitment of landmark reforms to ensure subcontractors receive payments on time for their work in the building and construction sector.

The final stage of the Building and Construction Industry (Security of Payment) Act 2021 (the Act) commences today, completing a three-year project to implement payment protections across the contracting chain in the event of an upstream insolvency.

Protections introduced so far have included:

  • more structured and transparent payment processes;
  • fairer contracting practices;
  • expanded rights to claim regular payments to avoid large outstanding invoices;
  • an effective dispute resolution pathway;
  • an Australian-first retention trust scheme across the supply chain; and
  • greater powers against building service providers with a history of financial failure or those who fail to pay debts to subcontractors.

From today, the financial threshold for the retention trust scheme will be lowered from $1 million to new eligible construction contracts over $20,000 (including GST). It is also now an offence to not fulfil certain requirements of the scheme. 

The retention trust scheme under the Act requires retention money withheld under eligible construction contracts to be held in a retention money trust account with a recognised financial institution.

Fairer payment rights, allowing for a transparent process for contractors to access cash retention money withheld against them, also come into effect today.

More information on the new laws, including a compliance program for building contractors, is available on the Building and Energy website:

Comments attributed to Commerce Minister Sue Ellery:

"We have delivered on a commitment to ensure money owed to subcontractors and suppliers remains secure and the industry stays strong, even if a building service provider goes insolvent.

"Today marks the completion of a significant body of work that is already providing wide-ranging benefits across Western Australia's building and construction sector.

"After years of uncertainty, these modernised and efficient security of payment protections will provide peace of mind for industry participants."


Building and Energy
Media release
01 Feb 2024

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