The abolition of the Victorian Building Code will unnecessarily increase the costs of community infrastructure.

“In its comprehensive and independent review of public infrastructure completed in July 2014, the Productivity Commission found that the disciplines that the Victorian Code applied were the best practice model for getting taxpayers value for money,” Richard Calver Acting CEO of Master Builders Australia said.

“After a thorough and well researched review of workplace relations in the construction industry, the Productivity Commission found that the most promising policy approach is for Australian governments to use their substantial purchasing power as a countervailing measure against conduct that leads to high costs, ‘sweetheart’ deals, coercion, sham contracting and poor safety practices,” he said.

The inquiry found that governments could achieve this through adoption of guidelines modelled on those of the Victorian Government, which covered all of this undesirable conduct. Recommendation 13.1 of the Final Report is as follows:

Australian, State and Territory governments should adopt codes and guidelines with an essentially similar framework to the Victorian Code of Practice for the Building and Construction Industry for their own major infrastructure purchases.
The Australian Government should require compliance with these guidelines as a precondition for any infrastructure funds it provides to State and Territory Governments.

“The abolition of the Victorian Code in the face of the findings of the Productivity Commission and the recommendation that it be adopted nation-wide is as disappointing as it is puzzling,” Richard Calver said.