Government Moves to Bring Back Construction Watchdog

Thursday, November 14th, 2013
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The federal government hopes to boost construction growth and workplace harmony with the resurrection of an industry watchdog abolished by Labor.

The coalition on Thursday moved to reinstate the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) which was scrapped in 2012 after seven years of operation.

“While the ABCC existed construction industry productivity grew by nine per cent,” Leader of the House Christopher Pyne told question time.

Christopher Pyne

Christopher Pyne

He said consumers were better off by $7.5 billion annually and there were fewer working days lost to industrial action with the commission in place.

Without the ABCC Mr Pyne said workers are at risk of workplace “intimidation, thuggery, lawlessness and violence”.

The legislation would also allow the ABCC to separate legitimate protests from unlawful and organised picketing aimed at disrupting building and construction work.

Mr Pyne highlighted the plight of workers at construction company Grocon in Melbourne in 2012, where a dispute “plumbed new depths for union thuggery, intimidation of workers”.

He read to parliament a plea by Grocon workers that they “be free to access our places of work without lies, threats and abuse and without fear of reprisals”.

“Today we move to reintroduce the ABCC because this side of the house represents workers in Australia and the other side represents union leaders,” Mr Pyne said.

“The leader of the opposition will oppose this move because when the union leaders come to see (him) about policy … he will support their wishes.”

Debate on reintroducing the bill was adjourned in the House of Representatives on Thursday while it was agreed in the upper house that a Senate inquiry into the legislation report back on December 2.

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