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Wednesday, 15 February 2017
Page: 1091


Senator CAMERON (New South Wales) (21:21): by leave—I move amendment (1) on sheet 8057 and amendment (1) on sheet 8058 together.

(1) Schedule 1, page 3 (after line 23), at the end of the Schedule, add:

4 After subsection 34(2E)

Insert:

(2F) Nothing in the Building Code prevents a building contractor or building industry participant mentioned in subsection (3) from:

(a) including a provision mentioned in subsection (2G) in a building enterprise agreement; or

(b) being covered by a building enterprise agreement that includes a provision mentioned in subsection (2G); or

(c) engaging in conduct, or implementing a procedure or practice, in respect of building work which has, or is likely to have, the same effect as a provision mentioned in subsection (2G) would if it were contained in a building enterprise agreement.

(2G) For the purposes of subsection (2F), the provisions are any that:

(a) specify a number of apprentices that may be employed or engaged at a particular building site, in a particular work area or at a particular time; or

(b) require the building industry participant to:

   (i) ensure that all employees performing work under the building enterprise agreement are lawfully entitled to work in Australia; or

   (ii) consult with the other parties to the building enterprise agreement to ensure they are satisfied as to the matter mentioned in subparagraph (i); or

   (iii) ensure that, in the event of redundancies, employees who are not Australian citizens or Australian permanent residents (within the meaning of the Migration Act 1958) aremade redundant first; or

(d) require the building industry participant to use best endeavours to ensure that any clothing or footwear provided to employees is Australian made; or

(e) require the building industry participant to schedule a nationally accredited asbestos awareness training course for each employee covered by the building enterprise agreement.

(1) Schedule 1, page 3 (after line 23), at the end of the Schedule, add:

5 Before subsection 34(3)

Insert:

(2H) The Building Code must require the ABC Commissioner to exempt a building contractor or building industry participant from the Building Code if the ABC Commissioner is satisfied that building work performed by the building contractor or building industry participant involves the provision of essential services related to supply of electricity, natural gas, water, waste water or telecommunications.

We always thought that there was a problem with clarity in terms of this bill. With the amendment on 8057 we want to now make sure that there is clarity in terms of the number of apprentices, that you can specify a number of apprentices in an agreement, that employees performing work under a building enterprise agreement are lawfully entitled to work in Australia and that in the event of redundancies Australian workers will be employed before overseas residents. Also, we require the building industry to use its best endeavours to ensure that any clothing or footwear provided to employees in Australia are Australian made, and we require the building industry to participate to schedule a nationally accredited asbestos awareness training course for each employee covered by the agreement. This will clarify some of the lack of clarity that is in the code.

The amendment on 8058 goes to the issue—particularly in South Australia—where the ABCC commissioner has to exempt a building contractor or building industry participant from the code if the commissioner is satisfied that the work performed by the contractor or building industry participant involves the provision of essential services related to the supply of electricity, natural gas, water, wastewater or telecommunications.

This is the last opportunity for the Xenophon Team, Senator Hinch and One Nation to actually support amendments that will protect workers' rights to bargain effectively in this country and to deal with issues that can be dealt with in every other establishment that is bargaining in the country. We are very concerned about the lack of clarity in the bill . We are concerned that the minister did not understand her own bill. This clarifies that, and I am pleased to move these on behalf of Labor.