The Berejiklian Barilaro Government continues to show utter disdain for the plight of up to 23 North Coast businesses who are owed more than $7 million for work done on a major state roads-building project.

The Premier today refused to say whether she would pay the families who have worked on the upgrade of the Ballina to Woolgoolga section of the Pacific Highway.

The sub-contractors undertook work to dig and grade the road but have not been paid because the company they were directly contracted to, Ostwald Brothers, went into liquidation in August 2017.

Between them they are owed $7.3 million and yet they have still not been paid despite a promise made by Pacific Complete - the State Government-appointed consortium responsible for the project’s delivery - that all subcontractors would be paid.

Today in State Parliament the NSW Labor Opposition raised the plight of the local families, many of whom are facing extreme financial hardship as a result of the Government’s failure to step in and pay them.

The Premier refused to answer the question of whether she would end their anguish and just pay the families for their work.

But rather than do the right thing Ms Berejiklian said that her agency, Roads and Maritime Services, was working with the Small Business Commissioner to ensure everyone was paid in a “timely fashion” – despite them waiting eight months for their money.

Quotes attributable to NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley

“Why can’t the Premier just do the right thing by these subcontractors and pay them for the work they have done for her roads agency.

“Rather than hide behind the bureaucracy and process she should just step in and end their anguish. They deserve better than to be put through the wringer by this heartless government.

“The Premier can find billions to spend on stadiums but she can’t find the money to pay these families who are struggling to make ends meet.

Quotes attributable to Shadow Small Business Minister Jenny Aitchison

“The Berejiklian Barilaro Government often proclaim they are the ‘party of small business’ this is clearly not the case”.

“The Nationals have abandoned these small businesses in regional NSW. How can they trust this Government to protect them against rogue operators?”