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Wednesday, 15 February 2017
Page: 1061

Senator CAMERON (New South Wales) (19:02): Minister, I want to go back to the issue of your survey that showed that only 16 per cent of the industry agreements surveyed were code compliant; and so, obviously, 84 per cent were not compliant. When you talk about a level playing field, it seems to me that the concept of a level playing field for the coalition is that the 84 per cent have to move over to where the 16 per cent are to create that level playing field. It just does not make a lot of sense when you have a situation where 84 per cent of the industry will have to go through extensive negotiations. If you have ever done any negotiation, you would know that even getting a change to one clause can be a lengthy and complex negotiation. Given that you have put so much effort into dragging 84 per cent of the industry over to the 16 per cent, I am wondering how many of that 16 per cent made donations to the Liberal Party's election campaign. I am also wondering in relation to competition in the industry if, as Senator Marshall has indicated, there are delays in getting agreements firstly negotiated and secondly approved, why would the coalition be creating a circumstance where a non-code compliant company could provide the lowest cost tender with maybe a shorter time frame, the best quality outcomes against a code-compliant company. Why would the Australian public be disadvantaged by not being able to have the benefits of the non-code-compliant company providing a better outcome in terms of economics, quality and delivery in the industry? What does this mean for competition? Have you received any advice about the implications for proper competition in the industry arising from this amendment?