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Labor must retain full ABCC powers.

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The Hon Julie Bishop MP Deputy Leader of the Opposition Shadow Minister for Employment, Business and Workplace Relations

The Rudd Labor Government must commit to the full retention of the Australian Building Construction Commission (ABCC) and the National Building Code, with new research today showing the Commission and the Code have played a significant role in holding down inflation and reducing building costs

It is concerning that the Rudd Government has not publicly committed to the retention of the National Building Code which underpins the work of the ABCC.

The Econtech report released today has found that the Consumer Price Index is lower by 1.2% and that house prices are lower by 2.5% as a result of the influence of the ABCC and the Code.

The report also found there had been a 10% increase in building and construction productivity and a significant reduction in industrial disputation.

If the Deputy Prime Minister was serious about Australians continuing to enjoy high levels of productivity and low levels of industrial disputation in the Construction Industry, then she would immediately commit to retaining the independence and full powers of the ABCC.

The terms of reference to the Labor Government’s inquiry into the ABCC contains no reference to maintaining the National Building Code which has been one of three pillars upon which the successful reforms have been built.

The Labor Government is seeking to hide its true agenda of winding back the powers of the ABCC by hiding behind vague election promises to retain operational aspects, but failing to commit to keeping the existing National Building Code.

This report builds on previous research which also found the ABCC has resulted in major economic benefits for the nation and it beggars belief that the Rudd Labor Government would even consider rolling back these vital building industry reforms at a time when there are growing concerns about the economy.

It is important to note that the ABCC was established on the recommendations of the Cole Royal Commission, which found building unions engaged in threatening and intimidatory conduct; and there was widespread illegal and corrupt behaviour in the building and construction sector.