Libs will oppose new construction watchdog Bill

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Libs will oppose new construction watchdog Bill

The Federal Opposition has declared it will reject Labor’s attempt to replace the ABCC with a new Inspectorate under Fair Work Australia when the legislation reaches the Senate.

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The Federal Opposition has declared it will reject Labor’s attempt to replace the ABCC with a new Inspectorate under Fair Work Australia when the legislation reaches the Senate.
 
The stance means the government will have to get support from the Greens and the Independents to get its legislation passed.
 
Good reason for interrogation
 
Under the new Inspectorate the automatic right of the ABCC to interrogate union members under threat of jail has been altered so that the ABCC must establish that there is a good reason for the interrogation.
 
Similar provisions are expected for the new Inspectorate, which will have its interrogation powers reviewed after five years.
 
The Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Michael Keenan, confirmed the Opposition’s stand today.
 
Must be tough cop
 
‘There simply must be a tough cop on the beat in the building and construction sector,’ Keenan said.
 
‘Despite the spin and rhetoric flowing from the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Julia Gillard, the facts are that Labor has caved under pressure from militant unions and wants to undo the major achievements of the construction sector watchdog.'
 
‘The Building and Construction Industry Improvement Amendment (Transition to Fair Work) Bill 2009 pretends to retain strong powers in this sector, but in reality they will be so bogged down in red tape that such powers will rarely, if ever, be used in an effective way.’
 
Keenan said there is no evidence that the culture on building sites has improved to the extent that justifies taking away the powers of the construction police.
 
Caved in to union pressure
 
‘Labor has simply caved in to pressure which will be at the expense of law and order, jobs and productivity,’ he said.
 
Keenan said there had been significant benefits to the entire community achieved since reforms to the sector took effect in 2002.
 
He said those benefits include:
  • industry productivity up by 10%
  • annual economic welfare gain $5.5 billion dollars per year
  • lower CPI (–1.2%)
  • higher GDP (1.5%)
  • significant reduction in days lost through industrial action.

 

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