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Tuesday, 18 October 2016
Page: 2279

Mr LAMING (Bowman) (14:41): A question to the Treasurer: will the Treasurer advise the House on the economic benefits of a strong and efficient construction sector? Treasurer, how does lawlessness and corruption in the building industry risk jobs and add to the cost of productivity-enhancing infrastructure right across Australia?

Mr MORRISON (CookTreasurer) (14:41): I thank the member for Bowman for his question, because he is well aware of the rather dastardly effect of the CFMEU on building and construction sites all over Brisbane, in particular, his home town. But the CFMEU's grip on the building and construction industry across Australia is choking productivity. Forget the issue of the union movement per se. If we look at it just simply on the economics, the refusal of those opposite to support the reintroduction of the ABCC is choking productivity in our economy, which is preventing workers from earning higher real wages from companies, particularly small businesses, and earning more. Those opposite are standing in the way of that.

Mr Hammond interjecting

The SPEAKER: The Treasurer will resume his seat. The member for Perth will leave under 94(a). He has been warned. I could not have warned him any more. The Treasurer has the call.

The member for Perth then left the chamber.

Mr MORRISON: Thank you, Mr Speaker. The lawlessness in the building and construction industry sponsored by the CFMEU is putting up building and construction costs, so it costs 30 per cent more—and more. That means it costs more to build a school. It costs more to build a hospital. It costs more to build an aged care facility or a road or a port—all of this. It is increasing the cost of investment, which makes investment harder to attract. That is why it is so important that we move to restore the Australian building and construction industry.

It is also driving small businesses out of business. Small businesses account for some $66 billion of the contribution to construction GDP in this country. They account for some 70 per cent of employment. You read stories like those of Andrew Bourke in Queensland, who is a security contractor, where the CFMEU forced him off five sites. He was sacked from five sites for doing one simple thing, and that was to run security on the sites to prevent trespassing onto those sites. You can imagine who he was trying to prevent from entering those sites. He says:

We are a small player trying to grow, but we cannot get any work.

… … …

… we are black-banned by the union.

…   …   …   

The union boasts that we are going out of business … the CFMEU is out of control.

…   …   …   

They pressure the builder and threaten to close the site down until they get that control.

When the Leader of the Opposition is asked about his support for the CFMEU, he says:

… I reckon I am on the side of the angels.

That is what he says about his support for the CFMEU—well, more like the Hells Angels. We all know it was those opposite who renewed the visas of bikie gang presidents. It took this government to cancel those visas, and it will take this government to restore the rule of law in the building and construction industry.