JM Kelly lieutenant lands State Government job
THE former construction manager of disgraced central Queensland builder JM Kelly was employed by the State Government's Rockhampton Building Asset Services office in the aftermath of the company's liquidation.
Mick Drew was called to give evidence to a recent Federal Court of Brisbane public examination into the liquidation of JM Kelly Builders Pty Ltd.
Unsecured subcontractors, who have been left unpaid by the latest JM Kelly implosion last October and that of another company JM Kelly Project Builders in 2016, have identified Mr Drew as the company representative who approached them with promises of payment that were never fulfilled.
Creditor Wayne Harris said he was stunned when he found out Mr Drew had secured through an employment agency a short-term contract with the Building Asset Services office which was part of the Department of Housing and Public Works.
"I was quite shocked," he said.
Subcontractors Alliance head Les Williams of Coolum holds power of attorney to represent the interests of two major unsecured JM Kelly Builders creditors.
"Everyone is entitled to a job," Mr Williams said. "But he was one of the Murphys' (owners of the JM Kelly Group) chief lieutenants."
The Sunshine Coast Daily understands Mr Drew was employed by Building and Asset Services for about two and a half days before being moved on.
Housing and Public Works Minister Mick de Brenni would not discuss the details of what his office described as "operational matters including the employment details of public servants and agency workers".
Mr de Brenni said it was his department that had rung alarm bells about the JM Kelly group.
"The Palaszczuk Government has taken vital steps to provide confidence to the 230,000 people employed in Queensland's building and construction industry, we're making sure that tradies get paid on time, in full, every time through our Building Industry Fairness Reforms," he said.
"I have made it clear that I will defend the right of small business and tradies to get paid for the work they do, as well as blow the whistle on dodgy builders.
"Tradies who do the right thing need to know that I will stand shoulder to shoulder with them to clean up this industry.
He said the State Government's decision to overturn cuts to QBuild and re-establish the Rockhampton depot was a top priority in securing future jobs and skills for central Queensland.
Meanwhile, the construction industry was still waiting the release of a review into a year-long trial concluded in March of Project Bank Accounts on selected government contract values between $1m and $10m.
"The intention hasn't changed to release the review," a spokesperson for the Minister said.
"The intention to roll out (Project Bank Accounts to the private sector) hasn't changed."