The Queensland Government will examine the definition of an
The Queensland Government will examine the definition of an "influential person” as part of its Queensland Building a Construction Industry reform process. Erle Levey

Questions raised over influence on penalised company

THE Queensland Government will examine the definition of an "influential person" as part of its Queensland Building a Construction Industry reform process after the close relationship was revealed that a former Sunshine Coast builder barred for life retains with the industry.

Marc Withnall, who promotes himself as a Harvard graduate, was barred for life in 2006 from being a company director, secretary or person of influence over any company licenced by the building regulator.

He had been a director of five companies that were either placed in administration or liquidation between 2004 and 2006.

However he is a senior employee of SMSF Property Capital Pty Ltd and was its company secretary from November 3, 2010, until May 15, 2013 after expiration of a three-year ASIC ban relating to his 2004-6 activities.

In December, 2013 the company incurred a $10,200 penalty to comply with an ASIC infringement notice for making potentially misleading statements about an "ASIC-approved" financial product.

Mr Withnall's partner Susanne Keene is the director and company secretary of SMSF Property Capital Pty Ltd which shares a Brisbane business address with Development Delivery Construction Pty Ltd and has SMSF Property Capital Ltd as its client.

Development Delivery Construction Pty Ltd, also known as Ddel sent out payment plans to subcontractors overnight Thursday offering to pay outstanding invoices over the next three months.

A QBCC spokesman said an influential person for a company meant an individual, other than a director or secretary of the company, who was in a position to control or substantially influence the conduct of the company's affairs, including, for example, a shareholder with a significant shareholding, a financier or a senior employee.

As Mr Withnall is not a director or secretary of either SMSF or Ddel he is not considered a person of influence.

A spokesman for Housing Minister Mick de Brenni said the government was examining issues around the definition and treatment of an 'influential person' as part of the QBCC reform process.

The Minister has met builders and subcontractors in Cairns and Townsville during the past week as he roles out the Queensland Building Plan which recommends major changes to security of payment legislation includingg the use of project bank accounts to ensure subbies are paid on time every time. 

"Small businesses that drive the construction industry should be able to operate with confidence, which is why the Government is progressing the Queensland Building Plan reforms to get construction on the level," the spokesman said.

The statements came as subcontractors report they face losing their QBCC licences after being financial compromised by the collapse of Cullen Group Australia.



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