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Building laws well received by industry

NEW Federal laws specific to the construction industry could be in place by Christmas.

That is the time line Federal Workplace Relations Minister Tony Abbott has set for having the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Bill passed into law.

The bill: provides for the establishment of an Australian Building and Construction Commissioner; makes any unprotected industrial action unlawful; allows damages to be sought when unlawful action is taken; and seeks to ban ‘no ticket no start’ signs.

The legislation has 120 points, drawn from the 215 recommendations from the Royal Commission into the Building and Construction Industry.

Industry bodies such as the Master Builders Association and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry have welcomed the legislation but question the omission of allowing the ABCC to investigate claims of secondary boycotts.

Commissioner Terence Cole was critical of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s lack of action on such claims.

The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union, one of the main focuses of the Cole Royal Commission, is railing against the bill.

CFMEU assistant secretary Joe McDonald branded it a “witch  hunt” and said it would be “business as usual” for the union if the bill became law.

There is also a concern that the bill might not pass through the Senate, with the Australian Democrats seen as the main sticking point.

Democrat Senator Andrew Murray said the Democrats were “suspicious” of any industry specific legislation.

“However, we are happy to look at this legislation on its merits when it has gone through the Senate review process,” he said.

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