MEANS OF ACHIEVING THE OBJECT OF THE BCII ACT
Improving the bargaining framework so as to further encourage genuine bargaining at the workplace level
The ABCC provided advice on its website about bargaining rights and obligations at the workplace level. The ABCC’s National Code compliance role encouraged these rights to be respected at sites applying the National Code of Practice. Coercion or undue pressure to make an agreement was unlawful under s.44 of the BCII Act, as is discrimination under s.45.
See The National Code of Practice for the Construction Industry, 36, Website, 30, Fact sheets and newsletters, 31
Promoting respect for the rule of law
The ABCC devoted considerable resources to advising building industry participants about their rights and obligations under the relevant laws. This activity encompassed material on the website, articles in the media, presentations by ABCC staff and promotional material. ABCC investigations and proceedings taken against building industry participants alleged to have contravened the law, directly promoted respect for the law by ensuring that it was actively enforced. The prospect of civil penalties acted as a deterrent to unlawful conduct.
See Report on Performance – Overview, 26, Penalty proceedings, 39, Education activities, 26, Communicating to industry, 30
Ensuring respect for the rights of building industry participants
The ABCC devoted resources to informing building industry participants of their rights. This was done in a number of ways. ABCC presentations aimed to educate industry participants of their rights. The ABCC investigated alleged contraventions of the law which involved breaches of building industry participants’ rights. The ABCC commenced legal proceedings when it was in the public interest and where there were reasonable prospects of success.
See Presentations, 29, Website, 30, Fact sheets and newsletters, 31, Site visits, 29, Investigations, 32, Sham contracting, 30, Wages and entitlements, 34, Penalty proceedings, 39
Ensuring that building industry participants are accountable for their unlawful conduct
The ABCC investigated all complaints of unlawful conduct that it received. The ABCC commenced legal proceedings when it was in the public interest and when there were reasonable prospects of success. The ABCC won the vast majority of its cases. Building industry participants were aware that the ABCC was an accessible regulator which followed up complaints.
See Site visits, 29, Investigations, 32, Penalty proceedings, 39
Providing effective means for an investigation and enforcement of relevant laws
The ABCC was an active and accessible regulator. It managed a large number of investigations. It was an active litigant. The ABCC devoted considerable resources to train investigatory and legal staff to ensure they were well-equipped for their roles. The ABCC developed IT-based case management systems to ensure accurate recording of case developments and associated data.
See Investigations, 32, Penalty proceedings, 39, Learning and development, 52
Improving occupational health and safety in building work
This is primarily the responsibility of the Federal Safety Commissioner (FSC), Safe Work Australia and state and territory OHS agencies. The ABCC liaised with these bodies as appropriate.
See Referring to other agencies, 29
Encouraging the pursuit of high levels of employment in the building industry
A peaceful, law-abiding industry is more likely to achieve improved efficiency and productivity. This will lead to increased activity compared to what would otherwise be the case. Increased activity will result in more employment. Sound workplace bargaining outcomes can remove the barriers to increased employment. Three studies confirmed the productivity benefits flowing from the role of the ABCC. Improved workplace relations in the industry will encourage investment.
See Sham contracting, 30, Wages and entitlements, 34, Foreword, 8
Providing assistance and advice to building industry participants in connection with their rights and obligations under relevant industrial laws
The ABCC devoted resources to informing building industry participants of their rights and obligations. This was done in a number of ways. ABCC Inspectors and National Code Compliance Investigators conducted presentations and education sessions to building industry participants of all levels. Regular alerts and a monthly newsletter were distributed via the ABCC database and were available on the ABCC website. The website contained a wide range of information and advice regarding industrial laws, regulations and the National Code. There were about 50 Fact Sheets on the website which were regularly downloaded.
See Communicating to industry, 30, Presentations, 29, Site visits, 29