NSW Housing Minister Melinda Pavey has vowed to ban directors of a failed building company that left a $1.47 million Wagga social housing block unfinished and subcontractors potentially unpaid.
Ms Pavey was questioned about the collapse of Sydney firm Matrix Group Co at a budget estimates hearing late last week.
Matrix Group Co was announced in February as the contractor to build the block of four one-bedroom social housing units at 16 Spring Street in Wagga.
Multiple builders and subcontractors have complained to the LAHC that their invoices for work on the site were past due.
Matrix Group Co late last month filed paperwork to voluntarily place the company into administration and liquidation.
During the budget hearing on Friday, NSW Shooters, Fishers and Farmers MLC Mark Banasiak asked Ms Pavey what would happen if the people who had run Matrix Group were to "phoenix" and bid for other government contracts.
Phoenixing refers to directors creating new companies after leaving debts and other obligations behind in their previous liquidated business.
"Minister, will you undertake that no phoenix company rises from Matrix and gets a contract?" Mr Banasiak asked.
Ms Pavey responded that "I will do everything in our powers to ensure that those that are involved in this company, that have been part of this process, no longer meet pre-qualifications and their history is recorded".
"I remember when I was roads minister we dealt with many of these types of issues on the Pacific Highway and we put some really good safeguards in place with the Small Business Commissioner," she said.
"But sadly, people sometimes run their business in a way that isn't fair to those who are working for them, but we do have some better mechanisms in place to protect the hardworking tradies and good small businesspeople of this state.
"I will do everything I can to ensure that those that don't look after those that are looking after us get punished, or not rewarded."
In other news
NSW Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC) has referred the Matrix Group Co matter to NSW Fair Trading, Public Works Advisory and NSW Police.
Mr Banasiak asked LAHC chief executive Michael Cassel why his organisation "continued to pay Matrix in good faith" after receiving complaints about subcontractors not being paid.
Mr Cassel said there was a clear process for paying government contractors that was set in legislation.
"We can't just not pay somebody because somebody has made a phone call and said he hasn't been paid," Mr Cassel said.
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