Today's passage of legislation to reinstate the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) will restore confidence and stability on Australian worksites and among small business and deliver on yet another key election commitment from the Coalition Government, Small Business Minister Michael McCormack says.
“There are hundreds of thousands of jobs across Australia in the building and construction sector – with countless subcontractors who run their own small businesses and employ hundreds of thousands of Australians,” Mr McCormack said.
“Australia’s construction sector has more than 340,000 small businesses and around 97 per cent of the construction sector businesses are small.
“But with bullying tactics, intimidation and delays drawn out across the sector, small business suffered with costs of up to a third more. This independent watchdog will and create a balance between the building and construction sector and the unions.
“This is why the passage of the ABCC was so critical for small business. It ensures activity on worksites and limits union recklessness, meaning more Australians have the jobs and opportunities they deserve whilst nation-building infrastructure continues.”
Mr McCormack said the need to reinstate the ABCC was a central feature of a recent nationwide tour alongside Australian Chamber CEO James Pearson and President Terry Wetherall around Australian Chambers of Commerce.
“The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry set the challenge to MPs to reinstate the ABCC as part of its Top Ten in Ten campaign,” Mr McCormack said.
“This was a message I heard from Chamber members, affiliates and small businesses in every State and Territory. I am delighted the Government has been able to deliver for small business again today.”
Mr McCormack also said the reintroduction of the ABCC was an issue in rural and regional Australia.
“Whilst some commentators have chosen to focus on big-city projects and unions, the reality is this matter also affects many smaller subcontractors in rural and regional Australia, which places in jeopardy building, jobs and investment in the bush,” Mr McCormack said.
Wagga Wagga home and land builder Peter Hurst, who is a former head of the Riverina Housing Industry Association, and whose company can employ as many as 100 subcontractors at a time, said the ABCC reinstatement would bring common sense and provide stability in regional areas.
“The ABCC is an overarching governing body which will restore common sense and productivity to a much-needed building industry,” Mr Hurst said.
Mr McCormack said delivering for small business remains a central focus of the Coalition Government.
“The Prime Minister said this is a term of delivery and today’s ABCC reintroduction is yet another example of how the Coalition Government will always back small business,” Mr McCormack said.