6 March 2023

Belconnen Markets site abandoned, subbies unpaid with PBS Building on the brink

| Ian Bushnell
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Belconnen building site

The Capital Food Market site in Belconnen. Photo: Belco60/Facebook.

A national building company founded in Canberra and with ongoing projects in the national capital is on the brink of collapse.

PBS Building has shut down its development sites across Australia, including the Belconnen Markets redevelopment project, leaving sub-contractors unpaid and speculation rife that it is about to go into administration.

Sub-contractors and contractors at the Belconnen site were told to collect their belongings on Friday afternoon (3 March).

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Comment was sought from Elanor Investors Group, the company behind the Capital Food Market project.

In Queensland, two Gold Coast development sites – a high-rise project in Surfers Paradise and a townhouse at Helensvale – have been locked up.

The PBS website cannot be accessed, the company’s digital footprint has been scrubbed and executives have gone to ground.

Brothers Peter and Ian Carter founded Prestige Building Services in Canberra in 1989, and it also has offices in Sydney and Brisbane.

Ian Carter and CEO Adam Moore are listed as PBS directors.

The Property Council and Master Builders ACT were aware of rumours about the company but were waiting on official confirmation and the announcement of an administrator being appointed before commenting.

In Canberra, PBS has built some of the national capital’s prominent projects, including the Belconnen Theatre, Radford College stages 1-3, the Grove Retirement Village with Lendlease, Goodwin Farrer aged care facility and LDK Greenway Views Seniors’ Living village.

It has also been involved with the Ginninderry joint venture between Riverview Group and the ACT Government.

READ ALSO Developer drops hotel rooms from Braddon Place project

PBS’s possible collapse has prompted the national construction union to call on the Federal Government to make good on its promise to reform national security payment laws so subcontractors and workers are not out of pocket when a company goes bust.

“Too many subcontractors and workers simply don’t get paid when companies like PBS collapse,” incoming CFMEU National Secretary Zach Smith said.

“It is unacceptable people are not getting paid for their hard work. Subbies and workers being ripped off when businesses are liquidated is one of the biggest problems in our industry.

“No more buck-passing. No more talk. We need an effective national security of payments regime that stops workers being ripped off.

“What’s the point of a body like the Fair Work Ombudsman if it doesn’t recover money owed to workers and subcontractors when construction companies go under?

“It’s always unions like the CFMEU left to pick up the pieces because Federal Government agencies aren’t responsible.

“Our union will do everything in its power to make sure workers and subbies get every cent owed to them, but we need laws that guarantee this can happen.”

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