Independently influencing state politics for subbies

Posted March 1, 2016

Peter Wellington and Coles Subbies

Photo: Peter Wellington and Subcontractors Alliance chair Les Williams with other subcontractors at the site of a Walton Construction project.

The Subcontractors Alliance has picked up an influential ally in Queensland State Government MP, Peter Wellington.

The Member for Nicklin, an electorate centred on Nambour, became interested in the lot of subcontractors when Walton Construction collapsed owing 600 tradespeople and small businesses about $30 million in late 2013.

“Walton Construction was building a supermarket only five minutes’ walk from my office in Nambour so I was able to witness first-hand the aftermath of the collapse,” Mr Wellington said.

He also met Subcontractors Alliance chairman Les Williams, who was then a partner in WK Civil, which won the contract for kerbing, channelling and sewerage works for the site.

Mr Williams was a victim of the collapse with a bill of $696,000 outstanding.

“I met Les during this period and witnessed subcontractors lose their businesses, houses, cars and in some cases their families,” Mr Wellington said.

The former policeman, solicitor and now MP has held his seat as an independent since 1998.

He has a Liberal-National Party background, growing up on his family’s cattle farm at Belli Park in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, but maintains he has remained true to his philosophy of voting for what he believes is right for Queensland.

He sided with Peter Beattie’s minority Labor Government when he entered politics in 1998 and fast-forward to 2016 he is again siding with a minority Labor Party Government in his new role as Speaker of the House.

Since the collapse of Walton Construction, he said he had worked with Mr Williams to ensure that something like this never happened again.

“It’s clear the ‘big end of town’ has been having its way with government,” Mr Wellington said.

The culmination of their efforts aided by other members of the alliance is a discussion paper road show coordinated by the Housing and Public Works Department and its minister, Mick de Brenni.

The road show was launched in Nambour and has been working up the coast and west to Mount Isa before winding up in Rockhampton on March 17.

“There are good suggestions in the discussion paper and I know many subcontractors run the risk of being blacklisted (by big developers) for attending the road shows and I commend then for getting involved,” Mr Wellington said.

“I am impressed with Mr de Brenni’s commitment to righting the wrongs of the past and will wait patiently for his responses.”

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