30th January, 2014

PM supports return of Australian Building and Construction Commission

Prime Minister Tony Abbott supports the return of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) after recent investigations found evidence of widespread corruption in the building industry.

A joint investigation by ABC News and Fairfax Media found criminal activity was being used to influence contracts on private and government construction projects in Victoria and New South Wales.

“What today’s revelations demonstrate is the absolute pressing need for the reestablishment of the Australian Building and Construction Commission with full power, full authority, full funding,” Mr Abbott said in a January 28 press conference.

The ABCC was established under the Howard government to act as an industry watchdog and regulate corruption in the building and construction sectors.

Before it was abolished in May 2012, the ABCC had the power to investigate, enforce and prosecute any potential breaches of the Building and Construction Industry Act or Fair Work Act.

Mr Abbott believes by recommissioning the ABCC, the construction and building sectors could benefit from a number of factors, including reduced corruption and improved productivity.

“Once you’ve got a strong cop-on-the-beat, the whole culture of an industry improves and that’s the tragedy of this particular industry over the last couple of years with the ABCC emasculated and then abolished,” he said.

Mr Abbott also identified how the previous ABCC was valuable for all stakeholders in the construction and building sectors.

“It was good for workers, it was good for the employers, it was good for customers, because we had an estimated $6 billion a year in productivity improvements in the industry,” he said.

Once the ABCC has been reinstated, Australian tradesmen may wish to review their tradies insurance to ensure their cover is still relevant.

It is important to assess your tradesmen insurance needs after any major changes to the construction and building sector as your needs and requirements may evolve beyond what your policy covers.

Author: Murray Bruce