Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Interim Taskforce Building and Construction Industry.



Download PDFDownload PDF

THE HON TONY ABBOTT MP

MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT AND WORKPLACE RELATIONS

 

Media Release

07202

Interim Taskforce Building And Construction Industry

The Interim Taskforce for the Building and Construction Industry has today opened for business. It is located in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth.

Anyone wishing to contact the Interim Taskforce can freecall 1800 00 33 38. The taskforce also has a website: www.buildingtaskforce.dewr.gov.au. The Interim Taskforce will accept calls from people in all States and Territories.

The Taskforce will investigate anyone, union official, contractor or subcontractor, reasonably suspected of operating in this industry in breach of the law and will refer suitable cases for prosecution.

My objective is zero tolerance of unlawful practices in this industry.

The Taskforce will work in co-operation with the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Tax Office, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and other federal agencies as necessary. It will continue to operate until the Government is able to implement its response to Commissioner Cole’s final report.

All parties associated with the industry and the community should cooperate with the Taskforce’s staff to improve the conduct of the industry. Everyone in the industry is entitled to protection against victimisation, damage to property and threats to personal safety and should work to achieve this lest he or she be the next victim.

 

 

 

Interim Building Taskforce - Questions and Answers

What is the staffing and budget of the Taskforce and who is the head?

The Taskforce will have a core staff of about twenty-five workplace relations investigators supported by access to legal and other resources and liaison and referral arrangements to be settled between the Head of the Taskforce and law enforcement agencies.

Its budget is of the order of $6.5 million dollars until 30 June.

The Head of the Interim Taskforce is yet to be appointed. A senior departmental officer will act in the

meantime.

 

Why is the Taskforce headquartered in Melbourne?

Many major industry participants are located in Melbourne and Melbourne is the city with most potential for significant improvement in conduct and practices in the industry.

What powers will Taskforce investigators have?

Taskforce investigators will exercise relevant powers under the Workplace Relations Act 1996 (WR Act).

Taskforce investigators will investigate and prosecute breaches of the WR Act including compliance issues relating to federal awards and agreements.

The Taskforce will refer allegations of breaches of other laws to partner agencies and other relevant authorities.

 

Will investigators have to identify themselves when they enter a site or business?

Taskforce investigators are required to identify themselves upon request.

Taskforce investigators will be issued with identity cards which will be carried at all times when exercising their powers or performing functions.

 

Will investigators be able to charge law breakers?

Charges can be brought for breaches of the WR Act. Breaches of other laws will be referred to the appropriate law enforcement agencies.

 

What sites will the investigators target? Are there priority areas that investigators will target?

There is no specific list of sites that will be targeted. Investigators will respond to individual inquiries and complaints after an appropriate assessment has been made by the Taskforce.

 

Will investigators be able to access all building sites?

A Taskforce investigator will able to enter any site to investigate compliance with an applicable federal award or agreement.

Investigators will also be able to enter any places of business where they have reasonable cause to believe there are documents relevant to ascertaining whether awards, agreements or the requirements of the WR Act are being or have been observed.

Where investigators are able to enter a place, they will be able to interview employees and employers, access or take copies from documents and require the production of records.

 

When will the investigators visit sites? Where?

A Taskforce investigator will able to enter any site to investigate compliance with an applicable federal award or agreement.

Investigators may visit sites on receipt of inquiries, complaints or requests for assistance.

 

Will the State Police be expected to arrest or detain people found to be breaking the law on sites?

We expect police to enforce the law.

The Government is seeking the full support and cooperation of State and Territory Governments in ensuring the Taskforce is provided with co-operation.

 

Why is the Taskforce based only in Melbourne, Perth and Sydney?

Melbourne, Perth and Sydney are considered to be areas in which there is potential for significant improvement in conduct and practices in the industry.

 

Will AFP, ATO and other federal agency staff be seconded to the Taskforce on a full time basis?

No. Other agencies will co-operate as necessary.

What action will the Taskforce take if investigators are refused access to sites?

Under the Criminal Code Act 1995 it is an offence to hinder or obstruct these investigators when performing the functions and powers under the Workplace Relations Act 1996 . Under the Criminal Code Act 1995 such an offence is punishable by up to two years imprisonment.

The Taskforce can refer such an offence for prosecution to the DPP.

 

For further information contact:

For more information call Simone Holzapfel  0417 656 668

 

 

1/10/2002