Master Builders Australia welcomes the announcement that the Parliament will be recalled to consider Bills to restore the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) and that the Government remains serious about tackling unlawful behaviour on building sites.

“Re-establishing the ABCC is the number one industrial relations issue for the construction industry and an important economic reform,” Wilhelm Harnisch said.

“The ABCC is about restoring confidence and certainty, it is about a more productive building industry, it is about the economy, it is about ensuring the community receives value for money,” he said.

“The building industry is the nation’s third largest industry and provides jobs to more than a million Australians but for decades the construction sectors has suffered from a culture of unlawfulness
displayed by building unions,” Wilhelm Harnisch said.

“The culture is ingrained and institutionalised and it cheats the community by driving up the cost of building schools, hospitals and childcare centres by as much as 30 per cent,” he said.

“The ABCC started to tackle this culture in the past and it was successful before it was abolished by the former Labor Government,” Wilhelm Harnisch said.

“If re-established, it will work again. It will improve productivity, restore law and order, and ensure the conduct on building sites resembles that experienced in all other workplace,” he said.

“That is why Master Builders has consistently called for its re-establishment as a tough cop on the beat and have been disappointed that the Government’s Bills to restore the ABCC has been stuck in the Senate,” Wilhelm Harnisch said.

“Every day that the ABCC is stuck, is another day where building contractors face thuggery, coercion and intimidation from building unions,” he said.

“In no other industry are ordinary people, when going about their daily work, confronted by overt aggression, denigration and bullying. In no other industry are small business people routinely intimidated and coerced by threatening behaviour,” Wilhelm Harnisch said.

In no other industry are women subjected to aggression and abuse. Most of these behaviours would not be tolerated at home, let alone in a workplace. But it happens and it is getting worse.

There is no room for thuggery in the building and construction industry in 2016. 

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