Release type: Media Release


Coalition delivers on promise to restore the Australian Building and Construction Commission


Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash
Minister for Employment
Minister for Women
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service
Senator for Western Australia

Today the Coalition Government delivered on a key election commitment taken to the last election with the passage of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) legislation to restore law and order to Australia’s building and construction industry.

The repeated unlawful conduct of militant construction unions and the acquiescence of certain employers has resulted in an industry which is mired by intimidation, bullying and thuggery. The restoration of the ABCC means the law will now be enforced, with unlawful action properly investigated, dealt with and penalised.

The ABCC will help ensure vital infrastructure projects paid for by Australian taxpayers are delivered on time and on budget. Commonwealth-funded hospitals, schools and roads will no longer be subjected to unlawful industrial action by unions who act with impunity and who treat the law as nothing more than a nuisance.

Australia’s 165,000 sparkies, 124,000 carpenters, 87,000 plumbers, 46,000 painters, 43,000 civil engineers and the many thousands of concreters, plasterers, brickies, tilers and other tradies belong to our third largest industry. They need and deserve the support of their Government to protect them from powerful unions and powerful head contractors that do the wrong thing.

The construction industry employs over 1.1 million Australians. The restoration of the ABCC will deliver co-operative, productive workplaces and a system that’s fair.

Key amendments to the legislation include enshrining security of payment provisions for subcontractors, the expansion of health and safety safeguards for construction workers and the introduction of procurements requirements to promote Australian made products.

With the passage of the Registered Organisations Commission legislation last week, the Government has now delivered on two key commitments which were taken to the Australian people at the last election.

This year the Government has delivered on four key pieces of industrial relations legislation: the restoration of the ABCC, the creation of the Registered Organisations Commission, the abolition of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal and the passage of legislation to protect Victorian CFA volunteers.

The Australian Labor Party and the Australian Greens have demonstrated time and time again that instead of standing up for workers, union members, small business operators, volunteers or Australian taxpayers, they are only interested in standing up for the interests of union bosses who break the rules and abuse their power.

Bill Shorten’s shameful claim to put "people first" has now been exposed as a sham and the Labor Party’s priorities have been laid bare. Their willingness to sell out the Australian people to appease their union masters is reprehensible and they will be judged accordingly. Bill Shorten has once again confirmed that he is the weakest Labor leader in decades.

The Coalition has worked constructively with crossbench Senators to deliver good public policy that will deliver a stronger building industry and protect Australian taxpayers. The Government thanks those crossbench Senators who have put the national interest first.