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Senate rejects move to muzzle building watchdog

By Emma Smith

Article written by DENITA WAWN from The Real Estate Conversation
Published AUG 10, 2017. Click here for full article

Master Builders Australia welcomes the Senate’s decision to stop moves to weaken the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).

Denita Wawn, CEO of Master Builders Australia thanked senators for standing up for their communities and saying ‘no’ to the bullying and unlawful conduct of militant building unions, particularly the CFMEU, and ‘yes’ to the rule of law.

“Some senators came under enormous pressure from these unions and Master Builders thanks them for standing firm in the interests of communities and small family building businesses around the nation,” she said.

“Builders are very happy to see that the ABCC can continue its job to change the culture of the building unions so construction sites can be like normal workplaces and building unions behave in line with community standards,” Denita Wawn said.

Had the move succeeded, it would have abolished a key part of the ABCC framework, the Code for the Tendering and Performance of Building Work 2016, commonly known as the 2016 Building Code. This Code, enforced by the ABCC, sets rules that encourage the development of safe, healthy, fair, lawful and productive building sites.

Denita Wawn said, “The special rules for the building sector would have vanished leaving militant construction unions with less accountability than existed under the Rudd/Gillard government.”

“The other Code rules, such as compulsory drug testing, specialist safety accreditation, stricter rules on using overseas workers, and higher penalties for sham contracting, collusion and worker underpayments, would also have vanished,” she said.

“The lawlessness, intimidation and industrial thuggery that happens on building sites isn’t just an industry problem– it is a community problem – because taxpayers foot the bill for the delays, blowouts and days lost to strikes causing construction costs to be about 30% higher than they should be,” Denita Wawn said.

“After three Royal Commissions, dozens of reviews and inquiries, and countless court decisions, it was clear that the construction industry had unique problems, tougher industry specific rules were needed and this is exactly what the ABCC does,” she said.

“The retention of ABCC and Code means more schools, roads, hospitals and other crucial public infrastructure can be delivered sooner and more efficiently,” Denita Wawn said.

“The building and construction sector is the second largest part of our economy and builders are looking forward to getting on with what they do best – building the things the community needs and creating jobs,” Denita Wawn said.

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