Many construction workers are expecting less red tape and more productivity, with the renewal of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).
The Senate has agreed to reinstate the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), after a lengthy battle in parliament. We touched on this last week.
Basically, the idea is to boost productivity and reduce the number of industrial disputes on building sites, by giving the watchdog powers to monitor the sector and enforce penalties.
There’s been a fair amount of opposition to the bill. The government had to strike deals with various cross-benchers, in order to get the legislation approved, so a number of amendments have been made.
Key amendments include:
– There will be more incentive for employers to fill building jobs with Australian workers
, as Labor and the Greens convinced One Nation to throw their support behind this move.
– Building industry participants with existing enterprise agreements will now have until November 2018 to make sure their agreements comply with the new building code
. This major change will ease concerns around existing agreements being ineligible for Commonwealth-funded projects.
– Some constraints
will be placed on the watchdog when it conducts investigations and takes action. The commissioner of the ABCC will be required to enforce policies and procedures in a “reasonable and proportionate manner to each of the categories of building industry participants.
– A working group will be created to address the issue of security of payments for building contractors.
How the ABCC could benefit builders and construction workers:
Many in the industry
believe the ABCC will create a more productive industry – leading to higher employment rates, lower construction costs and less red tape.
Wilhelm Harnisch, CEO of Master Builders Australia, says construction companies lost over 14 000 days to industrial action, in the quarter leading to September 2016.
He expects this number will fall under the ABCC, since the average dropped to 6700 per quarter when the watchdog was last in place. This will benefit Queensland and Victoria, in particular.
“Queensland and Victoria continue to face the greatest challenges, recording the highest levels of days lost to industrial action in the face of hard line building unions,” Wilhelm Harnisch said.