The West Australian, Thursday, 1 November 2018
Subcontractors WA’s Louise Stewart developed the ProjectPay system to protect subbies.Picture: Michael Wilson
Fair pay in construction advocate Louise Stewart has won a prestigious innovation award for her project payment technology, ProjectPay.
Ms Stewart, better known as Subcontractors WA chairwoman and advocate for fair contracts and timely payment of WA’s subbies, has won the National Association of Women in Construction Hassell Innovation award for ProjectPay.
It uses technology to help subcontractors, notoriously sloppy with their paperwork, to keep track of records and transactions all the way down the supply chain.
She set it up to counter an argument by head contractors and builders that project bank accounts were too difficult to set up and too hard to administer.
“We felt that resistance to project bank accounts needed to be addressed,” she said, adding that ProjectPay was a “sophisticated solution that uses ledger technology to record transactions … reduce business costs, streamline processes and ensure compliance”.
Ms Stewart has been campaigning for the State Government to change its rules to ensure there is a statutory trust mechanism to protect payments intended for subcontractors and suppliers. She has also campaigned for fairer contracts, a 10-day payment rule and affordable and quick dispute resolution.
Commerce Minister Bill Johnston on Wednesday received a 359-page review by John Fiocco that relied heavily on feedback supplied by an industry advisory group. Respected construction industry figure John Murray handed his 86 recommendations about fairer pay and conditions to the Federal Government in May.
Today, Ms Stewart said subbies often found it difficult to keep up with record-keeping but cashflow was crucial to reduce high levels of insolvency within the construction industry.
National Association of Women in Construction director Miriam D’Souza said, as well as Ms Stewart, Kasey Venter, the managing director of building surveying firm Elite Compliance was awarded the Swan Crystal Vision award.
“The awards celebrate rising female stars and recognised leaders across the construction and property industry,” Ms D’Souza said.
The awards, at The Westin, were hosted by Mamamia owner and women’s advocate Mia Freedman.
Other award winners were Probuild’s Kirsty Edwards, Wood & Grieve Engineers’ Vivienne Edwards, CPB Contractors’ Jessica Corica, Boral’s Sarah Palmer, Historic Heart’s Sandy Anghie and Hassell’s Hannah Galloway.