Peak Australian electrical industry body, the National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA) has expressed its surprise at last-minute bill amendments introduced in the Senate that could now encourage illegal activity in the building industry.  

The proposed amendments made to the Bill and now being considered by the Senate could encourage illegal activity to go unpunished by the proposed new government regulator of the building and construction industry.  

NECA’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr James Tinslay explains that the last minute amendments meant illegal activity may not be pursued by the independent government regulator if a deal was brokered between two parties, making them immune from prosecution.  

The building industry regulator is responsible for stamping out illegal activity and not encourage more of it by turning a blind eye, which would be the case if the new amendments went through the Senate, added Mr Tinslay.  

He expressed NECA’s concern about illegal practices continuing to take place in the industry with no fear of prosecution since the proposed new regulator will not have the power to pursue action against the guilty parties.  

NECA also supports the retention of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), joining other peak industry associations in appealing to the common sense of individual Senators to reject the Australian Greens’ initiated amendments.  

Ever since the Gillard Government announced plans last year to abolish the ABCC, NECA and its 5000 electrical contractor members across Australia have been calling for its retention given the diluted powers of the proposed Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate.  

Many of the recommendations from the 2003 Cole Royal Commission into the building and construction industry remain relevant today. According to Mr Tinslay, any new independent regulator must be able to assess each case on its merits without being restricted by new amendments that would prevent them from taking action against guilty companies.  

NECA is the peak industry body representing the interests of electrical and communications contractors Australia-wide.  

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