Queensland contractors who submit false statutory declarations for work undertaken on government building and construction projects will be referred to the police and to the Queensland Building Services Authority, says the state’s Minister for Housing and Public Works.
A spokesman for Minister Bruce Flegg indicated the warning followed ‘a few instances’ where problems had emerged in recent times, leading to issues regarding the payment of subcontractors.
In a statement on Monday, Flegg said statutory declarations are an important part of ensuring correct payments to subcontractors.
“Most State Government building contracts required a signed, original statutory declaration to be submitted with each payment claim, declaring amongst other things that all workers and subcontractors of the contractor have been paid all that is due and owing,” Flegg says. “These statutory declarations are not just another piece of paper to sign when submitting a payment claim – they are important legal documents governed by the Oaths Act 1867.”
Flegg says those who sign a statutory declaration knowing it to be false in any way may be guilty of a criminal offence under the section 194 of the Criminal Code 1899.
He says the Department of Housing and Public Works had recently referred a number of potentially false declarations on government building projects to the police for further investigation, which may lead to criminal charges.
Flegg adds that cases where licensed builders are found to have made false declarations are referred to the Queensland Building Services Authority, and that the parties concerned may have their license revoked.
“The government relies on the truth of the declarations provided in order to make payments to contractors,” he says. “If we suspect that a false statutory declaration has been provided, we will take the matter very seriously indeed.”
Flegg’s spokesperson told DesignBuild Source that the majority of contractors did the right thing, but that the minority who provided false declarations caused significant problems.