O’Brien Plumbing owner Tim Bothams says his company was owed $157,000 by Ri-Con Contractors when the company collapsed.
O’Brien Plumbing owner Tim Bothams says his company was owed $157,000 by Ri-Con Contractors when the company collapsed.

Gympie subbies reveal extent of Ri-Con fallout

GYMPIE plumber Tim Bothams has slammed the systems supposed to protect subcontractors after being left owed a six-figure sum following the collapse of Ri-Con Contractors.

The owner and director of O'Brien Plumbing Gympie was left $157,000 out of pocket when the Peregian Springs-based company went belly up on Monday. It is understood at least five other Gympie companies were owed money by Ri-Con.

The extent of those debts is still unknown. The Gympie Times has contacted two of them seeking comment.

The impact on Mr Bothams' business was evident.

Mr Bothams wants the building industry’s protections overhauled to ensure subbies are paid.
Mr Bothams wants the building industry’s protections overhauled to ensure subbies are paid.

"We've already put two guys off," Mr Bothams said. "They're finishing up next week because a business needs capital behind it to run." It is the third time Mr Bothams has been left in the lurch by a liquidation.

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The first was when Reed Construction collapsed early last decade.

They were hit again when Batir Constructions collapsed during construction of the Rainbow Beach Ambulance Station in 2017.

And he said the Queensland Building and Construction Commission was an abject failure that offered no protection.

RiCon contractors director John Jenkins.
RiCon contractors director John Jenkins.

"Can anyone tell me what they do?," he said.

"Since the QBCC took over, it's become 'get it done as quick as you can and get out'.

"These guys (tenderers) go in too cheap, and they get out of town contractors.

"They come here and all they want to do is rip, tear, and get into it. I don't know when they're going to learn."

"(QBCC) don't understand the mental affect on people this has."

"(Subbies) have got no job security, and they've always got the worry of being paid."

And the destruction caused Ri-Con's collapse could have been mitigated.

Gympie Youth Hub was built by Ri-Con.
Gympie Youth Hub was built by Ri-Con.

He said the company's cracks were showing at least as early as 2018.

"Every bill we put in with them on the (Curra Community Hall) job was always 60 days overdue. We were essentially doing the work and then waiting 120 days for our money."

A QBCC spokesman said only one moneys owed complaint made against Ri-Con in the past year.

It was lodged in March.

"Our priority is for subbies to get paid in full and on time for the work they do.

The Kilkivan Equestrian Centre was another Ri-Con job.
The Kilkivan Equestrian Centre was another Ri-Con job.

If you know any subbies talking about being ripped off, the best way to do something about it, to make sure you get what you are owed is call the QBCC on 139 333," he said.

"Over the last two financial years the QBCC has investigated 2,273 moneys-owed complaints, with more than $11.8 million recovered for creditors in that time. Since the service commenced in October 2014, the QBCC has investigated almost 5,000 complaints and recovered more than $29.1 million for creditors."

Gympie Times


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