An additional funding of $3.7 million for the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) will go a long way in reducing bullying at construction workplaces.
Welcoming the announcement, Master Builders Australia CEO Denita Wawn says, “The ABCC is the key independent regulator for the building and construction industry and it plays a crucial role in stamping out the bulling, thuggery and illegal behaviour that has been a feature of building sites and workplaces.”
“The additional resources announced today will enable the ABCC to better discharge its functions as a regulator and hold building industry law-breakers to account,” she says.
Recent cases in the High Court and Federal Court have only confirmed the need for the ABCC as well as the extra funding.
For instance, the High Court affirmed findings of the Federal Court that CFMMEU Queensland branch president Dave Hanna had not only threatened a site manager but also put the safety of some 30 workers at risk. The union was fined $306,000.
In another instance, the Federal Court found that CFMMEU official Joe Myles illegally threatened to blockade a Melbourne rail and road project with the objective of coercing the contractors to sign up to a union EBA (wage agreement). The union was fined $250,000, and Myles was fined $45,000 personally for his role.
The Federal Circuit Court found that ACT CFMMEU officials, including former ACT secretary Dean Hall, current ACT secretary Jason O’Mara, assistant secretary Zach Smith and officials Kenneth Miller, Halafihi Kivalu and Johnny Lomax breached the Fair Work at least 18 times across 6 different incidents that targeted the same ACT developer.
According to Wawn, the ABCC is crucial to ensure bullying and intimidation is stamped out so that construction sites can operate like every other workplace and building unions are held accountable so that they follow the rules like normal unions do.
While underlining the contribution of the ABCC towards ensuring that much needed public infrastructure such as schools, roads and hospitals is delivered on time and on budget to the community, she noted that the illegal conduct and bullying from building unions meant that the cost of construction went up to 30 per cent higher than it normally would be.
The additional financial resources announced today not only will help the building and construction industry, but also all taxpayers and the broader community as well, Wawn added.