State governments urged to set up own building watchdogs to combat CFMEU

State governments urged to set up own building watchdogs to combat CFMEU


“We’re getting strong evidence that people are now considering, in anticipation of Mr Shorten’s public announcements to get rid of the ABCC, that there will be no regulating of union behaviour on construction sites,” he said.

“That is being reflected in the risk of projects – there will be more premium to pay for it and the price will go up.”

He said “those tendering for projects this year are already putting in a margin for dislocation resulting from the potential removal of the ABCC”.

Mr Seidler did not specify the margin but noted that builders during the 1980s and 1990s had factored in margins of up to 30 per cent from disruption of militant building unions.

Bill Shorten

There are fears of “no regulating of union behaviour on construction sites” once Bill Shorten becomes primer minister, the Master Builders Association says.  DEAN LEWINS

The courts have fined the CFMEU and its officials more than $16 million since 2005 for unlawful strikes, coercion and right of entry breaches.

According to a NSW MBA policy document approved on Thursday, employers wants a state regulatory framework to “ensure a strong and disciplined approach to the rule of law.” in anticipation of “a changing approach to workplace relations at a national level”.

The proposed agency would be equipped with statutory powers and penalty provisions to deter coercive behaviour.

State governments should also “revise and strengthen” NSW procurement codes for state-funded projects, the policy said.

Mr Seidler said the state codes would mirror the current federal code’s prohibitions of restrictive union conditions.

The MBA proposals are similar to what the former Liberal Victorian government did when it set up its own procurement policy and industry watchdog in 2012 in response to the Gillard government scrapping the ABCC.

Mr Seidler said he had requested a meeting with NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet about the proposal.

The SA MBA has committed to the same policy and met with SA Premier Steven Marshall about the issue on Thursday.

“They’re interested in talking further about it,” MBA SA executive director Ian Markos said.

“This is quite crucial for us. The CFMEU is telling employers there will be significant change when a Labor government is elected. It’s just too dangerous when the industry’s starting to pick up.”

The SA government is planning record amounts of infrastructure spending over the next few years and NSW is currently experiencing an infrastructure boom.

CFMEU national secretary Dave Noonan said the proposals were “anti union” and came from an organisation that “continues to fail the construction industry”.

“We’ve seen MBA members where buildings have had to be abandoned due to quality issues, MBA members installing flammable cladding in buildings and MBA members engaged in the systematic looting of subcontractor and worker payments.

“But this branch of the Liberal Party is focused on good old union bashing.”

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