Jury’s still out on inspectorate

THE jury is still out on the efficiency of the WA Government’s Building Industry and Special Projects Inspectorate, even though it has charged a senior union figure for using intimidatory behaviour.

Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union assistant secretary Joe McDonald was charged by summons outside the Royal Commission into the Building and Construction Industry for using standover tactics at a WACA Ground construction site.

Incidents at that site, which could have caused Perth to lose the third match in the upcoming New Zealand Test Series, came to light during the Royal Commission.

Builders were sceptical when the old Building Industry Task Force was disbanded.

The task force operated on a system of immediate action, and its members were soon made special constables to help them with their work.

However, the inspectorate has been given no powers to make prosecutions.

Former task force operative James Zaknich said there was nothing under the WA Industrial Relations or Workplace Relations Acts that gave the inspectorate statutory backing to take immediate action.

Master Builders Association managing director Michael McLean said it was too early to say whether the inspectorate had made a real difference.

“Feedback from builders and contractors shows it’s (the inspectorate) is not really making a difference.”

However, Doric Constructions managing director Charles Neophytou said the inspectorate had proved helpful to him in offering facilitation services.

“And they have certainly moved to investigate things,” Mr Neophytou said.

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