Construction giant Lend Lease and a peak industry body have called for the building industry watchdog to be reinstated following allegations of widespread corruption.
Revelations surfaced this week that a lucrative contract at Sydney’s Barangaroo South project was granted to a labour hire company run by underworld figure George Alex, with the contract allegedly granted after intervention by corrupt Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) officials.
Lend Lease, which is overseeing the project, says the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) had demonstrated robust governance and strong management in the past.
“The Australian building and construction industry must demonstrate that it is committed to robust governance and strong management,” chief executive Steve McCann said.
“The ABCC has proven in the past that it can be effective in supporting this goal.”
The ABCC, established under the Howard government to combat corruption and cut down industrial disputes, was scrapped under the Labor regime. Lend Lease is now reviewing its arrangements with labour hire companies.
Mr McCann said the company would be an active participant in any government inquiry.
“Corrupt activity on any of our building sites will not be tolerated,” he said.
The Business Council of Australia is singing a similar tune.
“The allegations underscore the importance of a strong and effective Australian Building and Construction Commission to enforce appropriate behaviour and refer potential criminal matters to the police,” council chief executive Jennifer Westacott said.