Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says union thuggery is partly to blame for the lack of women working on construction sites.

Mr Turnbull was in Beenleigh, south of Brisbane on Wednesday, to launch a Master Builders' initiative aimed at encouraging more women to work in construction.

The prime minister said the Advancing Women in Building and Construction Program would not only help women in a traditionally male-dominated field, but highlight other problems plaguing the industry.

"One of the important elements too, is ensuring the rule of law prevails in the construction sector," he said.

"It's important that workplaces are respectful and that there is an end to bullying and thuggery.

"Regrettably, the construction sector has not been one where the rule of law has prevailed everywhere."

Mr Turnbull used the opportunity to again spruik his desire to reinstate the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), vowing to restore the "strong cop on the beat" if re-elected.

When later asked to clarify whether the lack of an ABCC contributed to the gender imbalance on construction sites, Mr Turnbull said: "Well, certainly it hampers everybody's access and it's clear that it does hamper women's access to the industry because (they shouldn't)... be intimidated by men."

Paynter Dixon employee Amanda Schloss, who was in her work uniform while pregnant, welcomed the initiative, particularly given female workers were being embraced in her company.

"I would definitely say don't be afraid, don't let the men intimidate you - confidence is the key," she said.

"I'm pregnant and there was no fear in telling (my boss) I was pregnant; we've worked a strategy to return back to work."

The federal government will provide $250,000 in funding over 12 months as part of the pilot program to help increase women's participation and employment in the building industry.

  • Well that is typical LNP crap.

    In a recent chat on the CFMEU facebook page, it was pretty obvious that misogynist independent building contractors are the problem and anybody who treats women as less than equal will have the full force of the union's social media outlets brought down upon them.

  • Andrew Heaton
    Industry Journalist
    1 year, 6 months ago

    It may be true that union misbehaviour is partially responsible for a lack of women in construction but the problem goes deeper than that, and includes managers and workers not knowing how to deal with female employees on construction sites. Whilst we we are still getting jokes from workers about lunch rooms and other facilities being good 'rape rooms', we will always struggle to attract more women into this field.

    Its not just unions that are to blame. It's a whole culture and a much bigger picture.

  • I hope this isn't true, I think it's just old school complacent men that feel threatened. Fortunately in Perth we already have a great participation of women working in construction with Hanssen Construction, perhaps the government should take this model and role it out rather than fund something that will be led by those that aren't doing it currently. I must say women in construction are giving us a run for our money men. If you want me to give you a personal tour please message me. You'll be very encouraged.

  • In the last 20 years of employing construction workers I have never had a women apply for employment on our construction sites . I do have a 25 % female staff including 2 engineers . What does that say ?

  • Good old Master Builders — running out of members? The problem will be getting them paid.

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