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Issue #1627      February 19, 2014

Commission should investigate slush funds linked to LNP

The CFMEU has expressed grave concern that the narrow terms of the Royal Commission appear to exclude slush funds in the construction industry that are linked to the Liberal National Party (LNP).

National CFMEU Construction Secretary, Dave Noonan said if Tony Abbott was serious about shining a torch on slush funds, there is no reason why property developer Walton Construction and Steve Nolan Construction should be exempt from being investigated by the Royal Commission. “Both Walton Construction and Steve Nolan Construction are in need of some very bright light shone on them.”

It has been reported that a property trust linked to the LNP, received $430,000 in rent from Walton Construction last year. At the same time, the company collapsed, owing workers $2.9 million in wages and entitlements.

Steve Nolan Construction, which Australian Electoral Commission records reveal donated $150,000 to the LNP in New South Wales, and $50,000 to the LNP nationally, in late 2012 and early 2013, has gone into administration, owing more than $30 million to workers and small business owners.

“Australian Electoral Commission records reveal that the Property Trust, and its trustee Altum P/L is a Liberal National Party fundraising organisation. Its Board includes LNP state party treasurer and Senator-elect Barry O’Sullivan.

“It is clearly recorded that they received more than $1.4 million from Walton Construction,” Noonan said.

Walton Construction went into liquidation last year with debts to the tune of $50 million. Queensland government Housing Minister, Tim Mander made a commitment to publicly examine Walton Director, Craig Walton, and to investigate the $50 million collapse after a meeting with some very angry and distressed small business owners late last year.

This includes lost wages to workers and sub-contractors for work completed – a situation which the CFMEU deals with on a regular basis, according to Noonan.

“We currently have 200 workers in New South Wales who are owed millions of dollars in lost wages by Steve Nolan Construction. The workers are on the street at two different sites in Sydney protesting against the developer in an attempt to get some of the money they’re owed.

“The terms of reference of the Royal Commission exclude companies in this situation, who have ripped off hundreds of workers and small businesses, from being investigated.

“We call on Mr Abbott to explain why property developers who have donated to LNP slush funds will be excluded from the Royal Commission.”

Next article – Protest against Santos CSG in the Pilliga

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