New federal Building Code covers IR

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New federal Building Code covers IR

The Federal Government has introduced a new Building Code for Australia that encompasses industrial relations issues.

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The Federal Government has introduced a new Building Code for Australia that encompasses industrial relations issues.

The legislation provides that a person who is a building contractor that is a constitutional corporation, or a building industry participant and the work is to be carried out in a Territory or Commonwealth place, is required to comply with the Building Code 2013.

The Building Code does not create new obligations, rather it codifies existing ones contained in the Australian Government Implementation Guidelines for the National Code of Practice for the Construction Industry — May 2012.
 
The explanatory document notes: ‘This Building Code reflects the Australian Government’s commitment to ensuring that participants in the building and construction industry comply with Australia’s workplace relations laws.’

Government contracts

Section 10 of the Act provides that the director of the Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate is responsible for encouraging compliance with the Building Code, and performing monitoring and investigation functions.
 
If the director determines there has been a breach of the Building Code, the director may report this to the Code Monitoring Group that is established by the ‘Building Code 2013 — Supporting Guidelines for Commonwealth Funding Entities’ (the Supporting Guidelines). The Supporting Guidelines set out the Commonwealth procurement obligations placed on funding entities. Through the operation of the Supporting Guidelines and the Commonwealth’s broader procurement framework, funding entities are unable to contract with organisations that do not comply with the Building Code.

Human rights and WHS

The Federal Government noted that a Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights has been completed for the Building Code, in accordance with the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011. The Statement’s assessment is that the measures in the Building Code are compatible with human rights.

The government also noted the Federal Safety Commissioner has been consulted in relation to occupational health and safety matters. The Office of the Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate has also been consulted.

The Building Code 2013 commences tomorrow, 1 February 2013.

Opposition says Code just another deal for militant union bosses
 
‘Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten’s release of a revised weakened Construction Code is just a blatant bid for election donations from militant union bosses including the CFMEU and ETU,’ Senator Abetz, Opposition spokesman said.

‘The Minister’s announcement … has shown Labor’s hand. Bill Shorten has belled the cat by overriding the States and backing militant unions like the CFMEU.’

‘Julia Gillard promised a tough cop on the beat but this announcement under the cover of an election is yet another broken promise.’

‘In making this announcement Bill Shorten stands accused of engaging in a blatant attempt to shore up another huge donation from the CFMEU ahead of this year’s election,’ Senator Abetz said.
 
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