06/11/2007 - 22:00

Concern over IR change – MBA

06/11/2007 - 22:00

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Western Australia’s building and construction industry has raised concerns for the viability of some projects if a federal Labor government abolishes the Australian Building and Construction Commission, a recent survey by the Master Builders Association o

Concern over IR change – MBA

Western Australia’s building and construction industry has raised concerns for the viability of some projects if a federal Labor government abolishes the Australian Building and Construction Commission, a recent survey by the Master Builders Association of WA has revealed.

About 76 per cent of those surveyed believe construction costs will rise by more than 10 per cent if Labor is elected this year and the ABCC disbanded after January 2010.

Others revealed they are making provision for contract premiums to be introduced in the event of a change of government.

Some respondents indicated they are holding back on tendering until the outcome of the election is announced.

As part of its proposed industrial relations changes, Labor intends to create an independent umpire called Fair Work Australia with offices in suburbs and regional centres that will settle disputes, among other functions.

Ninety three per cent of respondents to the survey said Labor’s alternative inspectorate, Fair Work Australia, would not be as effective as the ABCC, while 96 per cent do not trust construction unions to act lawfully in the absence of the commission.

MBA executive director Michael McLean said it was clear that the unravelling of federal construction industry reforms would create problems for the construction industry, with many members worried about a return to restrictive ‘no ticket/no start’ practices.

 “If Labor goes ahead and winds up the ABCC, all the benefits we have seen over the past few years such as record low industrial disputation, higher industry productivity, and the rule of law again applying in the building industry will all disappear,” he said in a statement.

“Over half the survey respondents had experienced industrial disputes, threats from union officials and intimidation prior to the ABCC, and builders are worried that without an effective regulator the industry could quickly return to the sort of industrial anarchy that reigned during that time.”

The ABCC was established in October, 2005, with powers under the Building and Construction Improvement Act of the same year, following the Cole Royal Commission inquiry into unlawful and/or inappropriate conduct in the building and construction industry in 2001.

About 78 per cent of respondents to the MBA survey said the ABCC and other construction reforms introduced over the past four years had major benefits that had improved industrial relations on their building sites.

Mr McLean said ‘no ticket/no start’ demands were starting to emerge on building sites in anticipation of a Labor win.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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