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HIA slams bill to abolish ABCC
Released 4 November 2011

The Housing Industry Association (HIA) has called on Federal Parliament to reject the Government’s new legislation that will abolish the Australian Building and Construction Commission.    

“This Bill is unnecessary. It is the wrong move, at the wrong time,” HIA’s Senior Executive Director – Business, Compliance & Contracting David Humphrey said.

The Cole Royal Commission uncovered systemic lawlessness in the commercial construction industry and recommended the creation of a specific industry body with coercive, investigative and prosecution powers.

Humphrey said there is ample evidence that in the five years since it was established, the ABCC has helped clean up much of the industry. However its work is far from finished.

“Many businesses are unfortunately witnessing a decline in workplace productivity, a creep back of pattern bargaining and a return to a ‘no ticket, no start’ culture.”
He said the legislation introduced into Parliament raises many concerns.

“Without justification unions will now have the right to have the regulator’s powers switched off on certain sites but at the same time will have any fines and penalties imposed against them reduced by more than half. To institute any compulsory conference the new Inspectorate will need to take a convoluted process through the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

“In short, if the Bill is passed in its present form, the ABCC will go from being a strong cop on the beat, to a toothless tiger”.

Rather than abolishing the ABCC, the HIA has called on the Gillard Government to preserve the current laws and ensure that the body continues to carry out its primary function of policing industrial lawlessness in the construction industry as intended by the Cole Royal Commission.