ABCC is a welcome reform says Commissioner

11 April, 2017

ABCC Commissioner Nigel Hadgkiss says he’s gratified by the feedback received by the Australia Building and Construction Commission since its reintroduction in December.

While not surprised by resistance to the changes from some quarters, he’s encouraged by the acceptance of the code by the majority of contractors tendering for Government-funded work.

Hadgkiss will speak about the ABCC at the WA Works Sundowner at CCI on 27 April.

“It’s running very smoothly, and I am extremely proud of the progress made by the Building Code Team to date,” he says. 

“The unit has more than doubled in size since the agency took on the function of assessing enterprise agreements in May last year, and is still growing.” 

The ABCC transitioned from the Fair Work Building and Construction on 2 December to ensure building work is carried out “fairly, efficiently and productively for the benefit of all building industry participants”.

The ABCC issues Letters of Compliance for enterprise agreements made on or after 25 April 2014 that meet Building Code 2016 requirements.

Hadgkiss says the issues arising with enterprise agreements can be avoided by consulting the more than 500 clauses on the ABCC website.

“The most common issues arising with enterprise agreements relate to freedom of association, induction, right of entry and certain requirements imposed upon employers to obtain the permission of third parties before carrying out various aspects of their businesses,” he says.

“A similar Building Code was enacted by the Commonwealth in 2006 and remained in operation for a number of years. 

“Therefore the concept of the Building Code 2016 is not something totally novel to contractors.”

Hadgkiss says he’s not surprised there has been a backlash from unions since the commission recommenced in December.

“My experience has been that whenever embarking upon reform of this magnitude, there will always be elements within the industry who believe it is in their interests to resist change,” he says. 

“I wish to emphasise that despite some of the misinformation circulating, only contractors can be sanctioned under the code, not unions, union officials, or workers.” 

He says if contractors want to obtain government funded work there has to be an understanding by unions that these contractors will have to comply with the code. 

“This implies that the contractors’ sub-contractors and all employees will also be required to comply with the code,” he says. 

“In the event that a contractor is sanctioned for breaching the code then it follows that the contractor could be prevented from tendering for a period of time. Obviously this has an impact on their workers, many of whom could be union members.” 

Don’t miss the chance to mingle with Hadgkiss and hear direct from him about the reintroduction of the ABCC and what it means for building industry participants. Book your tickets to the next WA Works Sundowner now.