Today, the worst fears of the building community have been realised with the introduction of a radical omnibus industrial relations Bill that takes the sledgehammer to tradies right across the country, says Master Builders Australia CEO Denita Wawn.
“This legislation is riddled with changes that will add increased costs to businesses and consumers at a time when households are struggling with the cost of living.
“The Government has simply not made the case for these changes or how it will tackle stagnant productivity levels.
“The Bill is not about ‘closing loopholes’ but ties a rope around the hands of tradies and creates loopholes for the union movement to increase their stranglehold of the building and construction industry.
“The legislation is completely inconsistent with the long-held concepts that underpin the workplace relations system.
“Independent contracting is critical to the industry’s conventional structure and successful execution of construction work, and the government must safeguard its rights.
“Over the past few weeks, we have seen comments from Minister Burke that this legislation is simply about ‘closing loopholes’ and the impact will be minimal. However, we now know that is simply not the case.
“There is nothing simple about adding hundreds of pages to the Fair Work Act and expecting businesses of all sizes and independent contractors to try and navigate it.
“There is nothing simple about having to spend time and resources in the back office and away from the tools in the middle of a housing crisis.
“There is nothing simple about independent contractors being left exposed to union coercion and duress.
“We heard reassurances that tradies would not be affected, yet there is a range of elements in the Bill that will jeopardise the rights of independent contractors and self-employed tradies to be their own boss.
“Master Builders is now in the process of combing through the legislation and will respond to specific elements of the Bill in the coming days,” said Ms Wawn.
Media contact: Dee Zegarac, National Director, Media & Public Affairs
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