Trust accounts | Queensland Building and Construction Commission

Why have trust accounts?

The Project Trust Account framework is designed to strengthen the security of payments to subcontractors in Queensland’s building and construction industry.

Subcontractors are especially vulnerable to payment delay or non-payment as they are at the end of the contractual supply chain. Trust accounts are aimed at ensuring money paid by those at the top of the chain, is secured for the benefit of subcontractors, ensuring they are paid on time and in full.

Types of trust accounts

Under Queensland’s trust account framework there are two types of trust accounts, project trust accounts (PTA) and retention trust accounts (RTA). These trust accounts are used to hold progress payments and retention amounts on behalf of the parties entitled to them.

A PTA is an account through which project payments are received and paid. A PTA is needed for all eligible construction contracts in Queensland. A separate PTA is required for each eligible contract.

For more information about what makes a construction contract eligible for a PTA use our simple trust account tool or, see Project trust work for examples of common eligible project types. 

Typically, a PTA is: 

  • paid into by the project owner or developer 
  • managed by the head contractor 
  • the account from which all subcontractors are paid 
  • the account from which the head contractor pays themselves. 

For more information about how PTAs are managed see, Operating a trust account, or refer to the guide below.

Trustee guide—project trusts (PDF, 2MB)

An RTA is an account where ‘eligible’ cash retention amounts are withheld until they are due to be paid. 

While a PTA is needed for each eligible contract or project a business undertakes, only one RTA is needed, as the same account can be used across multiple projects. For more detailed information about how RTAs are managed see, Operating a trust account or, refer to the guide below.

Trustee guide—retention trusts (PDF, 5MB)

Note: If you are required to have an RTA, you (or the person that administers your RTA) must complete compulsory training and attain a completion certificate, issued when you successfully pass your training assessment.  

See Retention trust training for more information about this requirement.

Trust account resources

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Last reviewed: 31 Aug 2021 Last published: 31 Aug 2021
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