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Builders welcome 'time for business' report



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MASTER BUILDERS A U S T R A L

1 November 1996

3 r d F lo o r

C o n s t r u c t i o n H o u s e

2 I 7 N o r t h b o u r n e A v e .

T u r n e r , C a n b e r r a

A C T 2601 Tel: (0 6 ) 2 4 9 1433 F a x : (0 6 ) 2 4 9 1373

BUILDERS WELCOME "TIME FOR BUSINESS" REPORT Statement by John Murray, National Executive Director

Master Builders Australia welcomes the key findings and recommendations contained in the Report o f the Small Business Deregulation Task Force. The building industry which is dominated by small and medium sized firms will receive substantial benefits if the key recommendations for reform contained in the Report are implemented by substantially liberating builders from the shackles o f unnecessary and costly red tape.

It is not surprising that the Task Force's main Findings relate to taxation issues and particularly in respect to the complexity o f the fringe benefit tax regime. It is in these areas that so much o f the building industry's administrative burdens occur. The recommendations if adopted should result in reduction in builders off-site overheads which should lead to benefits being passed on to consumers. Home owners can therefore be expected to be one o f the major winners.

The building industry is also pleased with the proposal to develop a common definition o f an employee and therefore in effect also a definition o f who is an independent subcontractor. For too long various statutes have sought to define, or deem to define, an independent contractor as an employee thus allowing inroads to be made by unions into the price sensitive housing industry. Again, the adoption o f a common definition will wind back much o f the recent union intrusion thereby further protecting home owners from unnecessary rises in house prices due to union work practices which lead to higher labour costs.

Master Builders Australia also welcomes the recommendation requiring the Department o f Industrial Relations to review the new unfair dismissal laws to ensure they are not an impediment to employment by SMEs. It is hoped that the recent agreement by Minister Reith and the Democrats will result in the repeal o f the current anti-employment and highly regulative provisions which have proven to be ill-thought through and cumbersome legislation and impacting unfairly on small business.

Master Builders Australia is pleased that the Task Force recognised the particular regulatory problems o f the building industry and the added costs they impose to clients and consumers such as home owners. Recommendations 27 to 31 deal with the specific regulatory issues

which need to be urgently reformed to enable the building industry make a greater contribution to Australia's economic well being. In particular Master Builders Australia Master Builders

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welcomes the recommendation for the private certification o f building approvals (Recommendation 27), limiting the role o f Standards Australia (Recommendation 28), and an improved dispute resolution process for development approvals (Recommendation 29).

M aster Builders Australia congratulates the Government for setting up the Task Force and looks forward to the Government setting up the appropriate processes to pursue its recommendations. The findings of the Task Force has at long last recognised the concerns o f small business and it is imperative that these reforms be actively pursued by the Government to ensure that the small business sector can contribute to employment growth and the economic well being o f Australia.

For further information:

John Murray BH: (06) 249 1433 AH: (06)282 5575