Prosecute White Collar Crime & Corruption in Australia's Construction & Banking Sectors

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“IT’S called fraud. There’s no other name for it.”

Behind the more than 7000 subcontractors and suppliers left owed in excess of $500m by Queensland construction industry insolvency in the past five years are real people.

Some lose everything - homes, businesses and livelihoods and never recover.

Read some of the personal stories recently featured in the media in the links below;

Couple nailed to the wall by builders gone bad

Life left in tatters after collapse

Subcontractor’s desperate bid to claw back $330k from JM Kelly

No criminal charges have been laid against any of the major companies in that time despite industry figures estimating $500m has been left owing to subcontractors.

There is also evidence supporting allegations of some builders submitting false statutory declarations they have paid their subcontractors. That is a crime under Queensland law.

The flow on affects are experienced by tens of thousands of home owners, who have problems with completion of their homes, caused by these crimes. They are left battling to recover whatever they can, with an ineffective building regulator who's failure to act in many cases allowed the crimes to occur.  

a number of specific complaints about individual failed companies have been lodged with the Australian Federal Police, Queensland Police and the Crime and Corruption Commission.

All have been referred on to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission from whom  no contact has been received.

The Financial Services Royal Commission shows how ASIC has dropped the ball and let the Australian people down.

The Banking Industry Facilitates These Crimes.

In many cases, these "restructures" or "workouts" as the banking industry refers to them, are completed with the knowledge and support of Australia's major banks. 

In December, Justice Derrington found arrangements between Walton director Craig Walton and business advisor Mawson with the full knowledge of the National Australia Bank “were directed to the purposes of extricating the NAB and relieving Mr Walton and his associated companies from potential liability under guarantees to the NAB”. Judge's damning assessment of NAB's role in Walton collapse

Walton traded while insolvent between April and October 2013, during which time the bank recovered $15.9m in exposure to the builder.

During the period of insolvency, before its planned liquidation, secured creditor debt went down while unsecured debt rose from the $26.2 million showing on the company’s books at March 2013, to around $90m impacting more than 1300 subcontractors

More than 600 Queensland subcontractors and suppliers were ultimately left unpaid $23.6 million.

What is the Solution?

The public needs the Queensland Premier to take this problem seriously, and ensure that these white collar crimes are properly investigated with the people and organisations responsible prosecuted to the full extend of the law. 

This will see justice properly served for the victims, and act as a proper deterrent against the people who will otherwise seek to continue these white collar crimes. 

There are existing laws which are clearly being broken including;

  1. Fraud
  2. Conspiracy to commit fraud
  3. The uttering of false statutory declarations

The recent Banking Royal Commission shone a light on some of the crimes being committed by Australia's biggest banks, with no proper action being taken to enforce the laws being broken.  This needs to stop, and the crimes committed need to be prosecuted.

The Police and Regulators need to properly investigate and prosecute these crimes, and our elected representatives, the Politicians, need to ensure that this happens without further delay.

Enforcement of the law should not be selective.  These crimes devastate people's lives and should be properly punished.