Our purpose

is to promote understanding and enforce compliance with Australia’s workplace laws in the building and construction industry.

Our enduring priorities

  • educate building industry participants on their rights and obligations.
  • monitor compliance with the 2013 and 2016 Building Codes.
  • investigate and litigate suspected contraventions.

“The Australian building and construction industry is a major generator of jobs and income to the national economy.” 

– Stephen McBurney, Commissioner

1. Message from the Commissioner

As the accountable authority of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) I am pleased to present the ABCC’s 2018–19 Corporate Plan.

The Australian building and construction industry is a major generator of jobs and income to the national economy. Almost 10 per cent of Australian workers are employed in the industry and it is the second largest contributor to gross domestic product.

It is the role of the ABCC to work for the benefit of all participants in the sector to ensure building work is fair, efficient and productive.

Our 2018–19 Corporate Plan identifies seven Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) designed to enhance our regulatory role and services to the building and construction sector.

We have recalibrated our KPI targets to ensure continuous improvement in not only meeting our targets, but also meeting the needs of the industry and its participants.

Over the next four years and beyond, we will continue to promote compliance with workplace relations law in the building and construction industry through education, advice and where necessary through formal compliance activities.

Stephen McBurney
Commissioner
Australian Building and Construction Commission

2. Introduction

I, Stephen John McBurney, as the accountable authority of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), present the ABCC’s 2018–19 Corporate Plan, which covers the period 2018–19 to 2021–22, as required under section 35(1)(b) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act).

3. Purpose

The purpose of the ABCC is to promote understanding and enforce compliance with Australia’s workplace laws in the building and construction industry.

We do this by:

  • providing information and resources
  • advising and assisting everyone to understand their rights and obligations
  • impartially monitoring and assessing compliance
  • using the full range of enforcement options to address non-compliance
  • promoting an impartial, flexible and high achieving agency that is focused on positive outcomes in the industry

This purpose is in line with our responsibility under the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Act 2016 (BCIIP Act), to ensure that building work is fair, efficient and productive, for the benefit of the industry and the economy as a whole.

4. Operating environment

The Australian building and construction industry is vitally important to the Australian economy and to the wellbeing of the nation. In the 2016–17 financial year, the industry contributed more than $124 billion to the economy, making it the second largest contributor to gross domestic product.1 The industry employs approximately 1.2 million people, making up more than nine percent (9.4%) of Australia’s total employment. The building and construction industry is the third largest employer in Australia, behind the health care and retail sectors.2 During the four-year period covered by this plan, the construction industry is projected to make the third highest contribution to employment growth (increasing by 120,700), largely due to infrastructure investment and non-residential building activity.3

The ABCC operates within a broad regulatory framework and works with other Commonwealth and State Government agencies that also have a role to play in the building and construction industry. This includes the Fair Work Ombudsman, the Department of Home Affairs, the Australian Taxation Office, state and territory work health and safety regulators, and state and territory agencies responsible for security of payments systems. The ABCC will refer to other agencies matters that are outside our jurisdiction or are better suited for response by another agency and, where laws are breached that also breach the Building Code, consider the appropriateness of sanction recommendations.

A key focus over the next 12 months will be in developing and rolling out education campaigns. We will target issues surrounding security of payments laws and the payment of wages and entitlements in the building and construction industry, and respond to compliance issues arising from increased reports that are likely to occur as a result of these campaigns. To assist building and construction employers and employees understand and ensure the payment of wages and entitlements in the industry, we have established a stand-alone team to monitor and enforce compliance with modern awards and enterprise agreements.

As a full-service regulator in the building and construction industry, we must anticipate changes in the complex and ever-shifting industrial landscape and adapt as a consequence. Over the next four years, it is vital that our reach is across the entire Australian building and construction landscape and that we are responsive to changing circumstances within the industry. Our regional structure allows us to have a presence across the nation, with offices in each State and Territory enabling us to cover building work wherever it is undertaken, and to be accessible and responsive to the needs of all industry participants.

Footnotes

  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017 Australian System of National Accounts, 2016–17, table 5 cat. No. 5204.0, ABS, Canberra
  2. Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018 Labour Force, Australia, May 2018, table 4 cat. No. 6291.0.55.003, ABS, Canberra
  3. Australian Department of Jobs and Small Business 2017 Employment Projections to May 2022.

5. Strategic objectives

Figure 1 illustrates the interconnected nature of the ABCC’s purpose and strategic objectives. At the core of this chart is our legislative purpose to promote understanding and ensure compliance with workplace laws in the building and construction industry. The quadrants within the compliance circle reflect our key strategic objectives to work with stakeholders through education, compliance monitoring and, when required, enforcement.

Figure 1 – ABCC Strategic Objectives

Figure 1 – ABCC Strategic Objectives

In order to achieve our purpose over the four-year period of this plan, the ABCC will:

1 – Provide tools and resources that promote understanding and compliance by:

  • Using technology to extend our reach across building industry participants. This includes tools and resources on our website, launching the new ABCC website and OnSite App, and using e-alerts, industry updates, media releases and education campaigns.
  • Targeting our educational materials to address issues that arise in the industry and ensuring all communications are written in plain English.
  • Providing appropriate links on our website to the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website for wages and entitlements matters.

2 – Advise and assist everyone to understand their rights and obligations by:

  • Providing advice and assistance at every given opportunity.
  • Visiting sites under construction to ensure employers and employees on those sites are aware of their rights and obligations.
  • Responding to every call, every website enquiry and every query from any building industry participant in a timely manner. Our advice will be considered, consistent and reliable.
  • Being accessible via our hotline number. Every building industry participant can contact the ABCC to speak to a subject matter expert. We will aim to answer every call within a minute and respond to all queries within 24 hours.
  • Meeting with stakeholders and providing formal presentations.

3 – Impartially monitor and assess compliance by:

  • Timely assessment of enterprise agreements for compliance with the Building Code.
  • More targeted compliance activities. The next 12 months will see a significant increase in the number of Building Code and wages and entitlements compliance activities undertaken. We will continue to increase this number across the period of this Corporate Plan.
  • Recognising the importance of rectification, we will work with building industry participants who own up to their conduct, but we will seek sanctions or penalties wherever appropriate having regard to the full circumstances of any breach.

4 – Use the full range of enforcement options to address non-compliance by:

  • Investigating contraventions and responding with our full suite of compliance powers, as appropriate, to ensure we hold contraveners accountable for their unlawful conduct.
  • Intervening in appropriate matters.
  • Recommending Building Code sanctions be imposed by the Minister where appropriate.
  • Seeking personal payment orders against individuals who contravene the Act, in appropriate circumstances, and in accordance with the guidance of the High Court of Australia.

5 – Promote an impartial, flexible and high achieving agency that is focused on positive outcomes in the industry by:

  • Facilitating the ongoing education, capacity building and responsiveness of our workforce by training our people to understand the complex environment within which we operate.
  • Maintaining high levels of employee engagement and wellbeing in the workforce.
  • Continuing to source the best graduates available to supplement existing investigative resources.

6. Capability

The ABCC has a range of plans and systems in place to achieve our purpose and strategic objectives over the next four years. Our key capability plans ensure that the right human, technology and property resources are deployed, while our risk management and oversight systems ensure that risks are identified, reported, monitored and controlled.

Workforce Plan

The ABCC staff are highly qualified and experienced across a range of disciplines to ensure that we achieve our strategic objectives. The ABCC invests in the recruitment and development of talented and enthusiastic staff. Our practices are guided by the Workforce Plan, which is regularly reviewed to ensure that our workforce is cohesive and high performing. The Workforce Plan identifies current workforce capabilities and forecasts future needs to ensure we are able to continue to deliver on our objectives, including employee training and development needs.

Capital Investment

Investment priorities for the ABCC are focused on enabling improved service delivery according to the changing needs of the agency. Our needs primarily relate to information and communication technology (ICT) and property. Accordingly, the agency has in place an Information Technology (IT) Capability Plan and a Property Management Plan. These plans are reviewed and updated annually to ensure currency and appropriate planning is in place to assist staff and build business capability.

ICT Capability

The IT Capability Plan supports the delivery of our services and aims to increase the productivity of staff. It sets out the high level strategies in place to ensure the ABCC is equipped with appropriate technology to undertake our work effectively and efficiently. Progress against the IT Capability Plan is reported to the Executive Team monthly.

Property Management Plan

The ABCC’s Property Management Plan strives to promote the efficient, effective, economical and ethical use of Commonwealth resources in the delivery of our property requirements. The Property Management Plan outlines the current and future needs, risks, gap analysis, and accountability for the agency’s property management.

7. Managing risk

The ABCC monitors and manages risks that affect our ability to achieve our strategic objectives and successfully carry out operational activities. Risks are considered over the four-year outlook of this Corporate Plan.

The ABCC’s risk management framework establishes processes for managing risk at the strategic and operational levels. It consists of a suite of documents and tools that provide a structured approach to managing risk and imparting an informed and considered risk culture. The main elements are the ABCC Risk Management Policy and Plan, the ABCC Enterprise Risk Register, and internal risk assessment and reporting tools. The framework provides processes for reporting on risk, and the ongoing monitoring and review of risk management activities.

The ABCC is committed to managing risk at the most practicable and cost-effective level possible and embeds risk in whole of agency operations by:

  • A dedicated risk function within the agency.
  • Annual review of strategic goals and risks for the agency.
  • Monthly reporting of risks and risk treatment plans to the Executive Team to monitor and review current risks.
  • Quarterly reporting of risks and risk treatment plans to the Audit Committee.

The risk management framework meets the agency’s compliance requirements outlined in section 16 of the PGPA Act and the Commonwealth Risk Management Policy, and is aligned with the guidance contained in the Risk Management Standard AS/NZS 31000:2009 – Risk Management – Principles and Guidelines.

8. Performance – measuring our success

The ABCC’s strategic objectives describe the services we provide to the building and construction industry in order to achieve our purpose. The primary key performance indicators (KPIs) that assess our delivery of these external-facing services are contained in the Portfolio Budget Statements and this Corporate Plan.

The KPIs set out in table 1 of this Corporate Plan demonstrate continuous improvement and ambitious targets to drive better outcomes for both the ABCC and the industry. They have been selected on the basis of legislative and policy requirements, research, and past performance data. Our performance will be evaluated using various methodologies, including data analysis and external surveys. In line with the requirements of the PGPA Act, we will assess our performance against these targets in the annual performance statement contained in the ABCC’s Annual Report, tabled in October each year by the Minister for Small and Family Business, the Workplace and Deregulation. Through this annual process, we demonstrate our accountability and transparency to the Minister, the Parliament, and the public.

Table 1 – Measuring our success against our objectives
      Performance Target  
Strategic Objective KPI Measure 2018–19 2019–20 2020–21 2021–22 PBS KPI
Provide tools and resources that promote understanding and compliance 1 Surveyed stakeholders who indicate that tools and resources provided by the ABCC have improved their understanding of workplace rights and responsibilities. 75% 80% 80% 80% Yes
Advise and assist everyone to understand their rights and obligations 2 Number of formal presentations delivered to stakeholders. 150 175 200 200 Yes
3 Surveyed stakeholders who are satisfied or highly satisfied with the quality and timeliness of advice and assistance provided. 80% 80% 80% 80% Yes
4 Number of site visits undertaken nationally. 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 N/A
Impartially monitor and
assess compliance
5 Average time taken to assess enterprise agreements for compliance with the Building Code. 1 month 1 month 1 month 1 month N/A
6 Number of activities to improve compliance with designated building laws and the Building Codes. 450 475 500 525 Yes
Use the full range of enforcement options to address non-compliance 7 Average time taken to commence civil penalty proceedings. <12 months <12 months <12 months <12 months Yes

Contacts

www.abcc.gov.au

Australian Capital Territory
Level 8
12 Moore Street
Canberra ACT 2601

New South Wales
Level 8
111 Elizabeth Street
Sydney NSW 2000

Northern Territory
Jacana House Level 7
39–41 Woods Street
Darwin NT 0800

Queensland
Level 25
400 George Street
Brisbane QLD 4000

South Australia
Level 3
60 Light Square
Adelaide SA 5000

Tasmania
Level 12
188 Collins Street
Hobart TAS 7000

Victoria
Level 4
509 St Kilda Road
Melbourne VIC 3004

Western Australia
Level 2
863 Hay Street
Perth WA 6000