Master Builders acknowledges that silica-related diseases are preventable and must be comprehensively addressed in those industries where there is a high-risk of accelerated silicosis and occupational lung diseases.
The building and construction industry is committed to working closely with Safe Work Australia through the details of today’s decision to prohibit the use, the supply and manufacture of all engineered stone in a majority of jurisdictions from 1 July 2024.
Governments’ focus must be on ensuring that the impacts and implementation of the changes are robustly assessed and worked through prior to coming into effect.
It is crucial that any changes come with clear, simple and practical rules so that businesses know what they need to do to comply and by when.
Regrettably, the practical implications of a prohibition were not considered as part of the Government’s consultation process, including its impact on contractual arrangements, the supply chain and labour force constraints.
We are disappointed that there are still a lot of unanswered questions and legal uncertainty around transition arrangements that should have been settled today. These include:
- Any relevant contractual obligations, including under existing fixed-price residential contracts;
- The availability and delivery (or otherwise) of suitable alternative products at a similar price point;
- Implications for businesses that already have significant quantities of engineered stone products in stock in the absence of any compensation or buy-back schemes.
We note that there has been some clarity around the appropriate management of legacy products, but more practical detail is required.
We support Safe Work Australia conducting further research which may allow for some engineered products to be exempt and whether alternative products, with appropriate controls, can continue to be used safely.
On training, Master Builders strongly supports Buildskills Australia being tasked with the development of a publicly owned, transparently developed national unit of competency for silica awareness.
Nationalising Labour Hire Licensing
Master Builders Australia will continue to monitor the progress of development and implementation of the proposed labour hire licensing scheme.
We will engage with governments, regulators and stakeholders in an effort to ensure that it meets the needs of the building and construction industry without unintended consequences.
Media contact: Dee Zegarac, National Director, Media & Public Affairs
0400 493 071 | email@example.com