Our history

2001-2003 

Cole Royal Commission 

The Cole Royal Commission into the Building and Construction Industry was established in August 2001 and tabled its final report in March 2003.

The Royal Commission found that the building and construction industry was characterised by a widespread disregard for the law, cataloguing over 100 types of unlawful and inappropriate conduct. The Commission also found that existing regulatory bodies had insufficient powers and resources to enforce the law.

The volumes that make up the final report of the Cole Royal Commission are available from the links below:

 

2002-2005 

Building Industry Taskforce 

The Building Industry Taskforce (BIT) was established on 1 October 2002 as an interim body to secure the law in the industry prior to the establishment of the national agency envisaged by Commissioner Cole.

In March 2004 the Interim Taskforce became a permanent taskforce, operating until the establishment of the Office of the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner (ABCC) in October 2005.

Read more about the BIT’s legal cases.

The BIT released two reports on its activities and the environment in which it operated: 

 

2005-2011

Office of the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner

The Building and Construction Industry Improvement Act 2005 (BCII Act) took effect in 2005.

This legislation established the Office of the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner as an independent statutory authority.  The agency commenced operations on 1 October 2005.

As outlined in the BCII Act, the principal role of the Office of the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner was to ‘ensure that building work is carried out fairly, efficiently and productively for the benefit of all building industry participants and for the benefit of the Australian economy as a whole’. 

 

The Wilcox Report 

Justice Murray Wilcox’s report, Transition to Fair Work Australia for the Building and Construction Industry, made recommendations on the structure and powers of the specialist division that would replace the ABCC.

The Wilcox Report (PDF 900KB) was submitted to Minister Gillard on 31 March 2009 and released publicly on 3 April 2009.

 

The Fair Work Act 2009

From 1 July 2009, the Fair Work Act 2009 Link opens external website in new tab replaced the Workplace Relations Act 1996.

The FW Act is the cornerstone legislation for workplace relations laws in Australia and includes rules regarding:

  • terms and conditions of employment

  • rights and responsibilities of employees and employers

  • compliance and enforcement rules.

The FW Act amalgamated the government agencies that previously administered the workplace relations system into two new regulatory bodies Fair Work Commission (then called Fair Work Australia) and the Fair Work Ombudsman.

 

2012-2016

Fair Work Building & Construction (FWBC)

From 1 June 2012, FWBC replaced the ABCC as the building industry regulator.

As outlined in the Fair Work (Building Industry) Act 2012, the principal role of the FWBC was to ‘provide a balanced framework for cooperative, productive and harmonious workplace relations in the building industry’.

 

2016-

The Australian Building and Construction Commission

The Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Act 2016 (BCIIP Act) took effect from 2 December 2016. The BCIIP Act re-established the Australian Building and Construction Commission, replacing FWBC.

The ABCC’s role is to promote an improved workplace relations framework to ensure that building work is carried out fairly, efficiently and productively for the benefit of all building industry participants, without distinction, and for the benefit of the Australian economy as a whole. 

Need more information?

For further information, advice or assistance please contact the ABCC at 1800 003 338 or enquiry [at] abcc.gov.au.