A Queensland construction company has been given a one-month sanction preventing it from tendering for Australian Government-funded work and another company has been issued a formal warning following ABCC investigations.

MCP (AUS) Pty Ltd subject to exclusion sanction

The Minister for Industrial Relations Michaelia Cash has issued a one-month exclusion sanction against Queensland company MCP (AUS) Pty Ltd after a mobile concrete pump truck it was operating toppled while working on the joint Queensland and Commonwealth Government-funded Toowoomba Second Range Crossing project.

The concrete pump truck with a 60-metre boom had been incorrectly set up resulting in the boom overbalancing and the crane tipping over. No one was injured in the incident.

MCP pleaded guilty in the Toowoomba Magistrates’ Court to failing to comply with its health and safety duty under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld) (WHS Act). The company was ordered to pay a fine of $50,000, along with costs.

MCP made full admissions before the Court, and fully cooperated with the ABCC, took positive steps to remediate its conduct and satisfy the regulator that it had provided a measure of voluntary rectification.

The exclusion sanction is the first imposed under the Building Code 2016 for a contravention by a Code covered entity of health and safety laws. The Code provides that where the ABCC Commissioner refers a breach of work health and safety laws to the Minister, the Minister must impose an exclusion sanction unless the Minister decides it would not be appropriate in the circumstances.

In her letter to MCP imposing the sanction, which will extend to 23 June, Minister Cash stated:

“The Australian Government takes any work health and safety contraventions very seriously given the potential for tragic outcomes, including serious injury and death. While the fact that there were no injuries as a result of this particular incident weights against imposing a lengthy exclusion sanction, I am not satisfied that this, MCP’s cooperation with the ABC Commissioner or the steps taken to improve safety following the incident, render it inappropriate to impose any exclusion sanction at all.”

i2 Solutions subject to formal warning

Minister Cash also issued a formal warning to Queensland-based building company Intelligent Infrastructure Solutions Pty Ltd, also known as i2 Solutions, for its failure to pay subcontractors and breaches of security of payment laws.

The road construction company, which went into voluntary receivership on 1 June 2020 has left subcontractors out of pocket to the tune of $166,375 and failed to make on time payments worth more than $1.19 million to contractors.

Prior to entering into administration, i2 Solutions operated in Queensland, NSW and Victoria on large road infrastructure projects.

In 2019 and early 2020, i2 Solutions failed to pay a number of its subcontractors on time or at all, on the M4 Smart Motorway project in NSW and the Logan Enhancement Project in Queensland.

The security of payment breaches committed by i2 Solutions include:

  • failure to make payments totalling $1,196,416 on time to different subcontractors
  • failure to pay a subcontractor $127,026, determined by an adjudicator
  • failure to pay one subcontractor claims totalling $39,349
  • intimidating and threatening behaviour during an adjudication process with a subcontractor.

ABCC Commissioner Stephen McBurney stated:

“The breaches of security of payment obligations amounted to breaches of the Code. These had a serious and deleterious impact on the companies who had undertaken building work for which they were not paid or not paid on time.

“The conduct of i2 Solutions, their abject failure to remediate their conduct, to demonstrate contrition or remorse, or to rectify their conduct warrants the action taken by the Minister.

“The imposition of a sanction by way of a formal warning is an important outcome, supported by the public interest, to deter others from similar conduct, to publicise the breaches in this case and to ensure the industry is made aware of the contraventions committed by i2 Solutions.”