Master Builders Australia
Master Builders Australia are opposed to abolishing ABCC. Image – Canva.
  • The Australian Building and Construction Commission was reinstated by law in 2016
  • Responsible for enforcing workplace relations in the building and construction industry
  • Labor has proposed its abolition; Master Builders Australia oppose this move

Master Builders Australia has come out strongly against the proposed federal Labor party’s policy to abolish the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).

“Confirmation that an Albanese Labor Government will abolish the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) is deeply disappointing and will severely undermine builder’s contribution to economic recovery,” Denita Wawn, CEO of Master Builders Australia said.

“Unleashing construction union thuggery will undermine recovery,” she said.

“The ABCC is crucial for the building and construction industry, crucial for the economy and crucial for the entire community,” Denita Wawn said.

Controversial subject

The Commission was established in 2016 by the current Liberal-National government as an independent statutory authority responsible for enforcing workplace relations in the building and construction industry.

Various attempts had been made by the Abbott and then Turnbull governments to pass legislation to create the body, but they failed to pass the two houses of parliament. After the double dissolution election of 2016, the newly re-elected Turnbull government was successful in reinstating the ABCC (which had existed in a different form between 2005 and 2012).

The current Commissioner is former AFL football umpire and Victorian Chief Examiner Stephen McBurney. He has a five-year term, which still has two years to run.

According to Master Builders Australia, abolishing the ABCC may herald the return of lawless construction sites.

“The economic impact of the pandemic cannot be ignored. Just as governments around the country are putting put construction front and centre of their economic recovery plans, Labor is planning to take the leash off construction union thugs and bullies,” Ms Wawn said.

“By upholding the rule of law on worksites, the ABCC means construction workplaces can operate like normal workplaces and is central to tackling the toxic culture of lawlessness and thuggery deployed by building unions that have plagued the sector for decades,” Denita Wawn said.

“There is absolutely no evidence to support abolishing the ABCC but there is a mountain of evidence to support its retention, including hundreds of Federal Court judgements, countless inquiries and reviews, and four separate Royal Commissions of Inquiry spanning three decades,” she said.

“Thuggery and lawlessness on construction sites rob the community by driving the cost of much-needed community infrastructure by up by as much as 30 per cent. These behaviours cheat the community of more classrooms, more hospital beds and more childcare places,” Denita Wawn said.

“Giving a green light to thuggery and bullying will undermine the economic recovery and is contrary to the community’s interests.”

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