About trust accounts

New trust framework for the building industry

Project bank accounts started in Queensland on 1 March 2018 under the Building Industry Fairness (Security of Payment) Act 2017. Designed to protect payments for contractors working on building and construction projects, the first phase of these accounts applied to government building projects valued between $1 million and $10 million. 

An independent review of the first phase of project bank accounts noted the framework was effective but recommended a number of improvements. As a result, changes to the BIF Act were made in 2020 to introduce a new trust account framework.

Phased implementation

The new trust account framework will be gradually rolled out between 1 March 2021 and 1 January 2023 to ensure industry has time to adapt and prepare for the changes.

The first phase of the new framework starts on 1 March 2021 for contractors working on eligible state government projects valued between $1 million and $10 million. 

The new trust account framework commenced on 1 March 2021.

When fully implemented by 1 January 2023, trust accounts will apply to all public and private sector projects valued at $1 million or more.  

Do I need a trust account?

There are two types of trust account that may be required if certain contract and other conditions are met:

  • one project trust account per eligible project
  • one retention trust account (if applicable) to hold cash retentions across multiple projects and subcontracts. 

Opening a trust account

Trust accounts can only be opened with an approved financial institution  and must meet certain trust account requirements.

Trustees are also required to notify the QBCC of a trust account after it is opened. The details are then published on the publicly available trust account register.

Getting paid from a trust account 

If you are a contractor or subcontractor working on a project where a trust account is required – you will be paid contractual and retention payments from a trust account. See our page on getting paid from a trust account for more information. 

Existing project bank accounts

If you’re currently operating a project bank account (PBA), you can choose to transition to the new trust account framework or continue with your existing PBA.

Resources and support

To understand your role and responsibility as a trustee under the new framework, check out our comprehensive suite of resources and support