The Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, today announced she will propose changes to the Government’s Building and Construction Industry Improvement legislation currently before the parliament to ensure the tough cop on the beat has the necessary powers to do its job.
The legislation will honour the Government’s promise to abolish the Australian Building and Construction Commission and replace it with the Fair Work – Building Industry Inspectorate.
The existing coercive powers will be maintained, alongside new safeguards recommended by former Federal Court Judge Murray Wilcox.
The amendments announced today would give the Minister the power to direct the Building Inspectorate about the allocation of resources, ensuring that the Building Inspectorate’s resources are targeted effectively to combat unlawful behaviour in the building industry and ensure that those who contravene the law face tough and decisive action.
Ms Gillard said that it comes as no surprise that the sort of situations and locations the Government has in mind include the recent unlawful industrial action occurring in northern Western Australia.
In further amendments, the Director of the Building Inspectorate will also be able to initiate or intervene in proceedings for contempt of court where a person does not comply with a court order.
It will allow the Building Inspectorate to take appropriate action against building industry participants who fail to comply with court orders.
The changes should send a signal to those who would break the law in the building industry that there will be repercussions.
If the Opposition is serious about ensuring a fair treatment for those who do the right thing in the building industry, but a swift and tough response for those who don’t, they should support the bill.