Chinese owner selling Qld subbies short
THE state's building regulator is investigating claims of delays in paying contractors and subbies working on the $100 million renovation of a tropical island resort.
Daydream Island in the Whitsundays is due to re-open in April after being badly damaged by Cyclone Debbie two years ago.
But The Sunday Mail understands the owner, China Capital Investment Group, is late paying several million dollars in progress payments. Millions more will be due on completion.
Dozens of subcontractors and suppliers claim they face being left out of pocket, with 200-plus workers still on site, but have agreed to get the job finished in the hope they receive their money later.
A spokesman for the Shanghai-based owner said he was not aware of payments being withheld or any other problems.
But State Housing and Public Works Minister Mick de Brenni has asked the industry watchdog, Queensland Building and Construction Commission to investigate.
"As soon as I heard about this I asked the industry regulator to get out there and conduct an urgent investigation - we need to get in front of it or risk the Daydream job quickly turning into a nightmare," he said.
"Let me be clear, if anyone has broken the law, I will ask the QBCC to come down on them like a tonne of bricks.
"Subbies are not an interest-free loan facility."
Mr de Brenni introduced new laws in December to protect payments in the building industry and streamline the independent adjudication system.
It comes amid The Courier-Mail and Sunday Mail's "Back Our Subbies" campaign lobbying for the establishment of a police taskforce to clean up shoddy practices in the industry and protect workers and their families.
CCIG bought Daydream Island and resort from vitamins tycoon Vaughan Bullivant in 2015. It was ravaged by Cyclone Debbie in March 2017 and has been undergoing a major refurbishment for the past year.
The 4.5 star resort is due to re-open on April 10 with the 277 rooms and suites available for between $492 and $698 per night, according to the website.
Director of sales and marketing Jayson Heron told The Sunday Mail: "Everything is still on track for the opening."
He said he was not aware of any issues over payments to contractors or subcontractors.
A spokesman for the head contractor on the project, Amicus Hospitality, would not comment.
CCIG also runs South Molle Island, which recently shared in a $25 million package of grants from the Palaszczuk Government for the rejuvenation of Great Barrier Reef island. The money will be used to rebuild the jetty to enable day-trippers to visit and assist the rebuilding of the resort which was also wrecked by the cyclone.
The Government is keen to see the region's tourism industry revitalised with 13 of the Great Barrier Reef island resorts currently closed, and another four being redeveloped.