Carr agrees to NSW building industry rorts inquiry

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Carr agrees to NSW building industry rorts inquiry

Hot on the heels of the federal inquiry into the building industry, the NSW Government will hold a three-month investigation into alleged workers' compensation rorts in that state's building industry.

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Hot on the heels of the federal inquiry into the building industry, the NSW Government will hold a three-month investigation into alleged workers' compensation rorts in that state's building industry.

 

Premier Bob Carr yesterday approved a three-month investigation to be carried out by an independent investigator after NSW construction union state branch secretary Andrew Ferguson told a parliamentary inquiry into WorkCover on Wednesday (see 252/2001) that rorts were widespread and were forcing honest operators out.

He estimates $1 billion of the state's $2.76 billion workers' compensation deficit (see 248/2001) could be wiped overnight if WorkCover investigated non-compliance with what is currently an honours system in which he says employers are underestimating payroll, and misrepresenting the types of work employees do.

He said up to 40% of employers were misstating their cases, and said many of the rorts were occurring on Government jobs.

 

Ferguson attended a meeting yesterday with Carr, IR Minister John Della Bosca and Public Works Minister Morris Iemma. He also brought with him the Executive General Manager of the Cement Division of Boral and a smaller subcontractor to put their cases. It was during that meeting that the Premier promised the inquiry.

The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union feels in an industry where margins are so tight, with tenders being lost on less than 1%, an inquiry is vital to bring rorters into line.

The CFMEU says it has been exposing such rorts to the Government for more than a year now.

Della Bosca's office referred WorkplaceInfo to the Premier's Office for details of who would be running the inquiry, terms of reference and timelines, but at time of publishing the Premier's Office had not returned calls.


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