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Building and Construction Industry Bill passes House of Representatives.



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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

03803

Building and Construction Industry Bill passes House of Representatives

Legislation to reform Australia’s $40 billion building and construction industry passed the House of Representatives last night.

Federal Employment and Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews said: “I am delighted that the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Bill 2003 has passed the Lower House and urge the ALP to pass it in the Senate.”

“The ALP claims it is against lawlessness. Here is the chance for the new Opposition Leader to prove it by ensuring his party supports the Bill.

“Problems in the construction industry mean higher prices, fewer jobs and a lower standard of living for all Australians.”

The Bill responds to the Cole Royal Commission’s key recommendations.

“The Commission found a lawless industry with a deep-seated culture of disregard for the criminal, civil and industrial laws,” Mr Andrews said.

“These problems are a serious national concern and the Government is committed to reform, for the benefit of all Australians.”

Independent research by Econtech has found that improving the industry’s workplace practices would boost Australian’s economy by $2.3 billion a year.

The Bill implements about 120 of the Royal Commission’s recommendations including:

● A watchdog headed by the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner;

● Safer building sites with a Federal Safety Commissioner;

● Stronger rules about freedom of association;

● Secret ballots before strikes;

● Effective sanctions against unlawful industrial action.

“The Australian Government is committed to ensuring the rule of law applies in the building industry as it does in other workplaces,” Mr Andrews said.

For further information contact:

Felicity Dargan Press Secretary 0409 550 446

5/12/2003