Time to reinstate building industry watchdog, says housing lobby

by Julia Corderoy13 Aug 2015
A leading housing association has welcomed the announcement of the federal government’s plans to put its Bill to reinstate the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) to a Senate vote.

The Housing Industry Association (HIA) is urging all Senators – government, opposition and independent – to pass the legislation when it is debated in the chamber next week.

“Regrettably, the abolition of the ABCC by the previous government and the erosion of industry specific penalties has, as the industry had forewarned, emboldened industrial militants and led to a worsening of conduct on building sites,” HIA industrial relations spokesman David Humphrey said.

“The evidence is now undeniable that the construction industry needs an effective deterrent and a robust and independent enforcer of the rule of law.”

According to the HIA, there are now two Royal Commissions – the 2002 Cole Royal Commission and the current Heydon Royal Commission – to have catalogued “systemic lawlessness” and illegal conduct throughout the home building industry.

“The black-banning of certain building product suppliers and manufacturers, flagrant disregard for right of entry rules, coercive pattern bargaining and the use of standover tactics against independent contractors and non-unionised businesses are all unacceptable in other sectors of our economy and similarly should not be tolerated in the building industry,” Humphrey said.

“This is not about ideology, it is about boosting Australia’s productivity and ensuring law and order returns to our nation’s building sites.”