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Laws ignored in Western Australia.



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THE HON KEVIN ANDREWS MP

MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT AND WORKPLACE RELATIONS MINISTER ASSISTING THE PRIME MINISTER FOR THE PUBLIC SERVICE

Media Release

06104

Laws Ignored In Western Australia

BREACHES of the law in Western Australia’s building and construction industry cost jobs as well as millions of dollars in lost investment.

The Cole Royal Commission found the law has little or no currency in WA.

It found an industry marred by unlawful and inappropriate conduct. It also found fear, intimidation and coercion are common on Western Australian building sites.

The CFMEU is mostly to blame. The union exercises dominance and power often disproportionate to its membership at worksites. Its threatening and intimidatory conduct is a hallmark of the industry.

This includes securing union-endorsed enterprise bargaining agreements (EBAs), signing up members and discouraging non-union EBA subcontractors.

The CFMEU and other unions threaten - and use - illegal strikes to achieve their goals.

They also abuse occupational health and safety issues as an industrial tool.

Mr Andrews said it is concerning that this culture is so entrenched that it is simply accepted that this is how business is done in Western Australia.

He said the Interim Building Industry Taskforce is making a difference in WA.

In a matter before the Federal Court in WA, the Taskforce alleges electrical contractor Everett Smith knowingly provided strike pay to employees who had taken illegal industrial action in November 2002. The hearing will be on April 22.

In 2001, following industrial action on the St George’s Terrace site in Perth, Baulderstone Hornibrook was found to have contravened the Workplace Relations Act 1996 by paying employees participating in an illegal strike. The WA Federal Court ordered the company to pay a $1000 penalty.

The Australian Government is committed to ensuring the law applies in the building and construction industry as it does everywhere else.

For further information contact:

Felicity Dargan Press Secretary 0409 550 446

16/03/2004