Some of Australia's biggest construction projects are being probed by regulators in relation to claims of corruption and tax avoidance.
The Australian Tax Office (ATO) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) are paying special attention to what is known as phoenix activity in the construction sector, where companies go into liquidation to avoid paying entitlements to their staff.
The ATO and ASIC have joined forces with the Fair Work Building and Construction directorate to examine illegal phoenix scams which are costing as much as $3.2 billion per year.
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The investigations will also examine allegations that some scams in the construction industry have links to organised crime.
"Our intelligence suggests that there's a range of issues that arise in the construction industry," he said.
"What we're finding is that there is a disproportionately large number of cases perhaps because of the nature of the industry and the number of workers involved in those industries but, whatever the reason, it seems to be a target for this type of activity.
"We have found that the construction industry is a particular hotspot for phoenix company activity, and this affects not just the employees in the construction industry who might be affected directly because their superannuation entitlements might not be paid, or their leave entitlements might not be paid.
"But also, critically, other contractors - sub-contractors and sometimes head contractors - are affected by companies going out of business, doing so intentionally with the absolute deliberate intent of defrauding all of those creditors and employees."
Consulting firm PwC, in a study for the Fair Work Commission in 2012, found that illegal phoenix activity costs between $1.2 billion and $3.2 billion per year.
"From our perspective, we see just far too many individual problems that are caused by this type of activity, because it doesn't need to be a large amount of money if you've been gutted out of your leave entitlements or your superannuation entitlements," Mr Tanzer said.
ASIC has commenced a wide ranging program aimed at the construction industry in which 6,000 smaller companies were targeted, and hundreds visited, to be reminded that heavy penalties apply for proven phoenix activity.
Mr Tanzer said the investigations would examine claims that organised crime is involved in construction sector corruption.
"We are concerned that the construction industry in particular seems to be a target for this type of activity and it really can be quite pernicious and cause very serious effects for the employees and the other creditors of companies that phoenix," he added.
Phoenix activity, where a company "rises from the ashes" of liquidation, without paying taxes or entitlements, is constantly in the sights of ASIC and the ATO.
Greg Tanzer told AM that such activity appears to increase during softer economic times, such as those being experienced now.