Warning for trades that workers will have to ‘risk their lives or their limbs’ by working with drug-addicted colleagues after testing rules on worksites are scrapped
- Labor government weakens building rules and scraps watchdog
- Employers call for rules on drug and alcohol testing of workers to remain
- Unions welcome decision saying watchdog was used to target them
Drug and alcohol testing on construction sites should remain, Australia’s leading construction body has warned as the Albanian government makes a controversial move to scrap the industry watchdog.
Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke announced on Sunday that changes to building code regulations would come into force from Tuesday, before introducing legislation later this year to abolish the Australian Building Commission and of Construction (ABCC).
The powers of the commission will be reduced to the “legal minimum” before returning to the fair work ombudsman and health and safety regulators.
Albanian government to change rules for construction sites as it moves to scrap industry watchdog altogether
Master Builders Australia warned that scrapping the commission risked driving up construction costs and said the sector needed a specialist regulator.
But Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said it was about ensuring workers were bound by equal laws.
“What there should be are the same laws throughout the industrial relations system that apply to every worker,” he told ABC News on Monday.
“The way this particular sector was singled out under the ABCC was not fair.”
Australian Constructors Association chief executive Jon Davies has called on the government to keep testing.
Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke announced changes to building code regulations on Sunday
“Continued drug and alcohol testing requirements are important because the safety consequences of drug and alcohol impairment on a construction site cannot be overstated, regardless of how the facilities are funded. projects,” he said.
Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox also issued a warning.
“Workers shouldn’t have to risk their lives or limbs working alongside other workers impaired by drugs or alcohol,” he told The Australian.
Asked if the rules on alcohol and drug testing at construction sites would continue, Mr Burke on Sunday called the regulations “really bizarre”.
“The threshold for when they apply and when they don’t is not based on a safety issue,” he told the ABC.
“It’s based on, one, if you’re in construction, and two, a formula of the extent of the Commonwealth’s contribution versus the value of the project, as if it’s sort of a security principle. “
Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox said scrapping drug and alcohol testing on construction sites would put workers at risk
Mr Davies said industrial relations rules must help boost industry productivity amid “critical” labor shortages and unprecedented investment in infrastructure.
“While the construction industry currently benefits from additional scrutiny, it is important that the pendulum does not swing too far towards an unregulated environment that fails to recognize the unique and, at times, troubled history of the sector,” did he declare.
“Australia needs a workplace system where the leaders of registered organizations have the same duties and obligations as the leaders of corporations, with a regulator well endowed to provide oversight, enforcement and consequences. significant in the event of unlawful conduct.”
Unions say the building code has prevented them from negotiating in areas such as promoting more women in construction
Unions have long argued that the building code has been used to target them by highlighting provisions that prohibit union flags and symbols.
Construction union boss Dave Noonan said the code had prevented unions from negotiating apprenticeship ratios, Indigenous employment clauses and measures to promote women in construction.