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Policies, Procedures & SafeguardsMarch 11, 2016
Yesterday, Malcom Turnbull addressed Federal Parliament in a bid to re-establish the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC). This is not the first time our Prime Minister has made the request. Previously, the ABCC was an independent statutory authority which ceased operating in 2012. Their main role was to monitor and promote workplace relations in the Australian building and construction industry.
Turnbull’s plea for the ABCC’s re-establishment could be viewed by some as a strategy to whip The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) into shape.
In the last 48 hours alone, the CFMEU has been in the limelight. It was announced the CFMEU national secretary, Michael O’Connor, will face trial over “an orchestrated campaign of unlawful blockades and work disruptions” at Sydney’s Barangaroo construction site. Two CFMEU bosses, John Setka and Shaun Reardon, face blackmail charges and a former CFMEU official, Halafihi Kivalu, has pleaded guilty to blackmail. Meanwhile, in Brisbane, a union official faced court after behaving “like a thug when he turned up at a worksite uninvited and began loudly abusing non-union workers”.
Turnbull, when asking the senate to consider the ABCC, spoke of the opportunity to build up “accountability and transparency within the construction sector”. He said “Australia’s construction industry employs more than a million people, and it is at the centre of our competitiveness. It is essential in ensuring construction is competitive [which] is absolutely vital for our economic growth.”
He did not shy away from outlining that he believes the CFMEU would benefit from the ABCC’s re-establishment, “They would be the winners, just as greater transparency, greater accountability in the corporate sector delivers benefits for shareholders, the stakeholders in those institutions,” he said.
This suggests the ABCC would eliminate grey areas by monitoring and investigating employers to ensure they are following their employment obligations. In the long run, this means the CFMEU and union representatives can make clearer judgements of wrongdoings. It will fix the issue from the top down.
Either way, employers, now more than ever, need to be more knowledgeable when it comes to employment relations and legislative obligations under the Fair Work Act. If the ABCC is re-established there will be more eyes on employers and with that, the importance of being compliant.
If you would like to review your current employment obligations, Employsure can review your processes and policies to make sure that you are compliant. Call us today on 1300 651 415.