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Wednesday, 31 August 2016
Page: 130

Turnbull Government

Ms LANDRY (Capricornia) (14:10): My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minster outline to the House the government's agenda to deliver on the commitments it took to the Australian people at the 2 July election?

Mr TURNBULL (WentworthPrime Minister) (14:11): I thank the honourable member for her question. The Australian people in the election endorsed the coalition's plan for a more prosperous and fair Australia. We took our plan to the people. We have a mandate for those policies. We will deliver on our commitments and we will repay the trust the Australian people placed in us. My government will provide the economic leadership Australia needs to embrace the opportunities of the 21st century and navigate the economic headwinds coming towards us from the global economy. Today marks an important step in that delivery.

This morning, I introduced into the House vital pieces of workplace relations reform. Reinstating the Australian Building and Construction Commission restores the rule of law to the construction industry, and the registered organisations bill restores transparency and accountability to trade unions and employer organisations. These measures address the kind of thuggery and illegal activity that was exposed by the Heydon royal commission. They boost productivity across the building and construction sector. They are vital economic reforms.

The construction industry is critical to our economy. An efficient construction industry and the infrastructure it provides is fundamental to prosperity. The added cost of industrial disputes on construction sites is a handbrake on our economy, significantly raising the cost to the community of building necessary infrastructure and limiting growth in the construction sector. It also has a direct impact on housing affordability. When the cost of constructing apartment buildings is driven up by industrial disruption, that has direct consequences for property prices. And let us not forget, the construction industry employs more than a million Australians—Australians that work hard to better their lives and look after their families. Those Australians should enjoy a workplace free of the bullying and harassment, the thuggery and stand-over tactics employed by building unions and in particular by the CFMEU.

True to form, the unions, supported by Labor, have resorted to dishonest smears to oppose this reform. There is no truth in any of the claims that the ABCC, when it was in existence, impacted the safety of building sites in any negative way. The facts on the matter are very clear: access to building sites by safety regulators and union officials is governed by state safety legislation and the Fair Work Act. The ABCC legislation we introduced again today does not change any of that. Safety is protected, workers are protected; the building and construction sector needs to be one where the rule of law prevails, and our law will change that and ensure that it is. (Time expired)