As the federal election approaches, a leading construction industry association has given the Australian Labour Party an embarrassing ‘fail’ for its policies regarding the building industry.
Releasing its appraisal of the respective party policies relating to the sector, Master Builders Australia has delivered an overwhelming approval of the Coalition but a substantial rejection of the ALP.
On a scorecard involving 13 criteria, the Coalition received 30 ticks out of a highest possible score of 39 whereas Labour was dealt an embarrassing score of just eight.
Furthermore, whilst Tony Abbott’s party scored top marks on criteria such as reducing company tax, restoring the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), abolishing the carbon tax and committing to the 457 visa program, the ALP was awarded a big fat zero in each of the above areas.
Only on two criteria, infrastructure and workforce skills and training, did Labour score anything above a one out of three – Master Builders giving the ALP some kudos for its commitments to continue a range of key infrastructure programs as well as its promise to spend more than $3 billion over six years to provide apprentices and skilled workers to the economy.
Master Builders Australia Chief Executive Officer Wilhelm Harnisch says the scorecard will help inform the Association’s 32,000 members about the relative strengths and weakness of each party’s building industry policies when they vote on Saturday.
“On Election Day more than a million building industry practitioners, including engineers, architects, designers, project managers, builders and contractors, apprentices and independent contractors should be looking to support the party which backs a strong building industry and a strong economy” Harnisch says.
“The building and construction industry has always been vital for Australia’s future, but never more so, as our economy transitions post the resources boom. Master Builders Election 13 Policy Scorecard will inform our members’ votes, and those in the broader building and construction industry, when they vote at this Election for Australia’s future.”
The latest scorecard underscores the extent of frustration felt within the industry with regard to the current government – albeit with building unions urging their members to vote Labour over fears a Coalition win would jeopardise rights and conditions for construction workers and Labour itself defending its record against MBA’s criteria by pointing to what it says is a strong record on economic management, infrastructure and investment in skills and workforce development.
Building and industry groups have expressed continual dissatisfaction about a range of areas, the most significant of which revolve around the abolition of the ABCC, the carbon tax, a crackdown on the 457 visa system, union-friendly changes to the Fair Work Act and new tax reporting requirements for builders to report payments made to other contractors.