WALTON: The collapse that exposed an ugly industry
SUNSHINE Coast Daily reporter Bill Hoffman has spent years fighting for the families left destitute by the greed and dodgy practices of some players in the construction industry. In this special feature he looks at the scale of the problem and some of the solutions to it
THE 2013 collapse of Walton Construction left 1300 trade subcontractors and suppliers left owed between $70-$90 million.
On the Sunshine Coast subcontractors on the Nambour Coles job were left owed $3m for work done and materials supplied.
There were bigger collapses before it and more to follow afterwards.
Yet when Walton closed the doors of its Queensland Bowen Hills headquarters one day early in October only to open the next rebadged as Peloton and working on projects that had been transferred to it by a series of asset sale agreements, it represented a watershed moment for the industry.
- Ripped-off subbies ready to lash out
- Life left in tatters after collapse
- After the collapse: Beau Hartshorn
- Extension to chase more cash
Craig Walton didn't suddenly reach a point where his businesses couldn't continue. Lawyers, bankers, business advisors, accountants, economic analysts, clients and ultimately a liquidator were all to play roles in what was a carefully orchestrated and timed event.
The only ones blind to what was happening were the people who actually do 85% of the work and supply the materials needed in every construction job.
The Walton collapse became the focus of the 2015 Senate Standing Economics Committee report into Construction Industry Insolvency, which led to 44 recommendations for industry reform.
It has also driven the construction sector reform agenda of the Palaszczuk government and shone a light on the performance and shortcomings of the Queensland Building Construction Commission which is now being reshaped under a new commissioner and a new board after the old was dumped last week.
The Office of the Queensland Integrity Commissioner is also reviewing the circumstances around the transfer to Peloton on the strength of a phone call in the three business days before Walton went into administration of eight contracts it held with Queensland Rail.