A 400 per cent spike in days lost due to industrial disputes in the building and construction industry shows the urgent need to bring back the ABCC, Master Builders Australia told a Senate Committee hearing today.
Wilhelm Harnisch, CEO of Master Builders Australia, told the Senate Inquiry into the Government’s bills to bring back the ABCC that the building industry is alarmed at the worsening industrial environment on building sites since the last Senate Inquiry into the bills in February this year,” he said.
“Put simply, things have not improved, and in many respects have worsened. Without the ABCC, this trend will continue and the community will keep paying more for schools, hospitals and roads,” Wilhelm Harnisch said.
“Since February 2016 the number of days lost to industrial action in our industry has dramatically according to ABS data. The most recent data showed the construction industry as having the highest number which comprised two thirds of the national total,” he said.
“It is simply unacceptable. It’s the community that suffers not just from more expensive community facilities but from the economic damage as unacceptable and unlawful building union practices holds back productivity and job growth in the nation’s third largest industry,” Wilhelm Harnisch said.
“In the past week we have seen Fair Work Building and Construction (FWBC) in the courts trying to stop rolling CFMEU stoppages targeting a contractor in Queensland. Earlier this year the union unleashed similar industrial tactics delaying construction of Commonwealth Games facilities that will cost taxpayers in the hundreds of thousands,” he said.
“Recent court cases also highlight how small businesses are the victims of building union bullying. Evidence heard by the Heydon Royal Commission highlighted the plight of small building firms without a strong cop on the beat to protect them or the deep pockets necessary to take defensive legal action,” Wilhelm Harnisch said.
“The Royal Commission also heard evidence from the Police about their inability to tackle the building unions to ensure they comply with the rule of law like normal people,” he said.
“This is why, following a double dissolution election that reaffirmed the Government’s mandate to bring back the ABCC, Master Builders continues to strongly back the return of a tough cop on the beat on building sites,” Wilhelm Harnisch said.