Funding aims to stop construction site bullying

Friday, 14 December, 2018

Funding aims to stop construction site bullying

An additional $3.7 million in funding has been provided for the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) in an effort to eradicate bullying on construction sites.

The move has been welcomed by Master Builders Australia, which said the ABCC is crucial to stamping out bullying.

“The ABCC is the key independent regulator for the building and construction industry and it plays a crucial role in stamping out the bullying, thuggery and illegal behaviour that has been a feature of building sites and workplaces,” said Denita Wawn, CEO of Master Builders Australia.

“The additional resources announced today will enable the ABCC to better discharge its functions as a regulator and hold building industry law-breakers to account,” she said.

Several recent cases have confirmed why the ABCC should be retained and the benefit of this additional funding:

  • The High Court affirmed findings of the Federal Court that CFMEU Queensland Branch President Dave Hanna threatened a site manager, saying, “Take that phone away or I’ll bury it down your f**king throat.” The High Court further found Hanna put the safety of some 30 workers at risk when he used one pass to ‘swipe them out’ of the construction site. The union was fined $306,000.
  • The Federal Court found that CFMEU Official Joe Myles illegally threatened to blockade a Melbourne rail and road project with the objective of coercing the contractors to sign up to a union EBA (wage agreement). The union was fined $250,000 and Myles was fined $45,000 personally for his role.
  • The Federal Circuit Court found that ACT CFMEU officials, including former ACT Secretary Dean Hall, current ACT Secretary Jason O’Mara, Assistant Secretary Zach Smith and officials Kenneth Miller, Halafihi Kivalu and Johnny Lomax breached the Fair Work at least 18 times across six different incidents that targeted the same ACT developer. The breaches involved contraventions of right of entry laws, safety legislation, willful and reckless misrepresentation about the union’s rights on worksites, and shutting down sites because of fabricated and non-existent safety concerns.

“The ABCC is crucial to ensure bullying and intimidation is stamped out so that construction sites can operate like every other workplace and building unions are held accountable so that they follow the rules like normal unions do,” Wawn said.

“The ABCC helps everyone in the entire community by ensuring much needed public infrastructure like schools, roads and hospitals, can be delivered on time and on budget.

“The illegal conduct and bullying from building unions means the cost of construction is up to 30% higher than it normally would be. The additional financial resources announced today not only will help the building and construction industry, but all taxpayers and the broader community as well.”

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