19 January 2015

Statement on the Victorian Construction Code Compliance Unit


This media release discusses State politics and politicians.

As Federal Minister for Small Business, I am committed to ensuring Australia becomes the best place to grow and build a business.

The Abbott Government has been working hard to ensure we have met each of our election commitments to promote Australian small business. Today I am disappointed, but not surprised, to learn that the pro-union anti-business Victorian Government is now actively working to stymie small business growth and productivity across the state.

The Andrews Government in Victoria has announced plans to scrap the Victorian Construction Code Compliance Unit.

Not content with the body blow to the Victorian economy and construction industry by turning their back on the East West Link, the State Labor Government has now abandoned a key mechanism designed to ensure lawful conduct, fair competition for projects and value for money for the Victorian tax payer.

Beyond the general harm to the Victorian economy and tax payers, no one suffers more from lawlessness, standover tactics and closed union shops than small businesses and family enterprises involved in the construction industry.

It was always curious why a union dependent upon construction activity for work for its members, sat silent whilst Labor turned its back on the East West project and all the livelihoods that would have benefited from it. This union silence appears to have come at the cost of rule of law on construction sites and heralds a free reign for unions.

The Andrews Government reckless move to scrap the CCCU means that the dire pre-election predictions of a union state have sadly come true for the people of Victoria. It also reinforces my strong belief that the Australian Labor Party in any form, state or federal, is no friend of small business, nor has it ever been.

In the lead up to the election, Dan Andrews worked hard to talk up his plans for small businesses in Victoria, yet just weeks into government he is already proving where his allegiances really lay.

Scrapping the Building Construction Code Compliance Unit will remove restraints on union conduct. It opens the door to the bad old days to unlawful demands, closed shops and the relentless intimidation of smaller contractors.

I have spoken time and time again to the operators of small businesses across Victoria. Many of them didn’t survive the dark days when unions ran the state, leading to cost blowout and project delays which only the big end of town could endure. Our economy simply can’t afford to see this happen again.

Labor is no friend to the hard working women and men of small business. By scrapping the unit, Labor are looking after their best friends – not the small business of Australia, but the CFMEU.