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Statement by Tony Judge – Country Labor for Coffs Harbour

23 May 2018

Nationals Fail to Support Unpaid Small Businesses after Pacific Highway Contract Management Failure

The National Party claims to represent small business in regional NSW but they have let local subcontractors down in their time of need.

Local small business owners are struggling to survive because the NSW State Government has refused to make good on unpaid invoices for $7.5 million after Queensland company went into receivership.

Those businesses have received support from State Labor Leader Luke Foley and Small Business Spokesperson Jenny Aitchison, but local Nationals MPs have let them down by voting against a motion in State Parliament that would have seen them paid for the work they have already completed.

Coffs Harbour Nationals MP Andrew Fraser has been strangely quiet on the plight of these small businesspeople. Member for Clarence, Chris Gulaptis has claimed it is all a matter of going through a long Administration process. In the meantime, subcontractors are going broke and on the verge of going out of business.

Labor candidate for Coffs Harbour, Tony Judge said “This is a clear failure of contract management by the Berejiklian/Barilaro government. My experience through many years of managing large contracts for the Federal Government is that you avoid this type of situation by conducting regular financial viability checks on contractors. The State Government has failed to properly manage a contract and small businesses are being made to suffer for that failure.”

Mr Judge also said “It is sad that the Nationals promote themselves as the party that represents small business, but when the crunch comes they let them down. Nationals Leader John Barilaro makes the excuse that failing to reimburse these businesses is about value for taxpayers’ money. If he is so concerned about getting value for the NSW taxpayer he would be arguing against wasting more than $2 billion knocking down and rebuilding stadiums in Sydney. Instead, he is prepared to let regional businesses go to the wall because they are not paid for a government contract. Small regional businesses deserve much better than this.”

Labor will continue to fight for local subcontractors to be paid the money that they have earned through their hard work.

Updated: 23 May 2018


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