Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey has lashed out at thuggery in the construction industry, calling it a drag on productivity and economic growth.
Australia needed to do better than the 2.8 per cent economic growth recorded in 2013, Mr Hockey said of the latest national account figures.
Trend or above-trend growth of three to 3.25 per cent should be the target, he said.
Citing the government’s planned repeals of the carbon and mining tax, and laws to restore the Australian Building and Construction Commission, he said parliament needed to support the reforms if growth was to hit that mark.
Mr Hockey’s most strident remarks were reserved for improvements in the non-mining construction sector, which he tied to the restoration of the ABCC.
December GDP figures released on Wednesday showed new building construction had fallen 2.3 per cent for the quarter.
“The best I think we can do for building sites around the nation is ensure that some of the thuggery that has been part and parcel of disputes, whether in the middle of Melbourne or anywhere else, is removed from the industrial scene,” Mr Hockey said in Canberra.
“Having the ABCC on board is hugely important if we want to try and drive productivity growth.”
Laws to reinstate the Howard-era industrial watchdog are being opposed by Labor and the Greens in the Senate, as is legislation to scrap the carbon and mining taxes.