Table of Contents

1. Message from the Commissioner

The ABCC’s 2019-20 Corporate Plan sets the agency’s strategic direction for the next four years, to ensure building work in Australia is carried out fairly, efficiently and productively—for the benefit of employers, workers and the national economy.

The ABCC has recommitted to changing behaviour in the industry by upholding the law and addressing unlawful conduct. To achieve this important goal, the ABCC has identified eight key performance indicators (KPIs) that will guide our activities and measure our performance.

Our 2019-20 Corporate Plan builds on the achievements of the past 12 months. Our actions are focused on ensuring the rule of law on Australian building sites is upheld and that our staff and resources are accessible and available to provide accurate advice and guidance to all building industry participants.

The agency’s commitment to adopting performance stretch targets continues with the inclusion of a new KPI – percentage of successful civil penalty proceedings – and an increase in the number of formal presentations to stakeholders from 150 to 175 – a 16.6% increase.

These changes reinforce the ABCC’s commitment to continually improving its performance and are focused on helping those that want to comply with the law, while taking appropriate action against those that choose to disregard it.

Stephen McBurney

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 2019-20 Corporate Plan, which covers the period 2019–20 to 2022–23, as required under section 35(1)(b) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act).

3. Purpose

The ABCC is committed to changing behaviour by promoting respect for the rule of law in the building and construction industry.

We do this by:

  • providing information and resources that promote understanding and compliance
  • 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 carried out fairly, efficiently and productively for the benefit of the industry and the Australian economy.

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 2017-18 financial year, the industry contributed more than $141 billion to the economy, making it the second largest contributor to gross domestic product.1 Planned or underway construction projects in Australia are valued at $686.4 billion.2 The building and construction industry is the third largest employer in Australia, employing approximately 1.2 million people and making up more than 9% of Australia’s total employment.3 During the four-year period covered by this plan, the construction industry is projected to make the fourth highest contribution to employment growth (increasing by 118,800), largely due to infrastructure investment and non-residential building activity.4

The ABCC operates within a broad regulatory framework and works with other commonwealth and state government agencies that have a role to play in the building and construction industry. This includes state and territory work health and safety regulators, state and territory agencies responsible for security of payments systems, the Fair Work Ombudsman, the Department of Home Affairs, and the Australian Taxation Office.

The ABCC will refer matters to other agencies that are outside our jurisdiction or that are better suited to respond. Where laws are breached that also breach the Code for the Tendering and Performance of Building Work 2016 (Building Code 2016) or the Building Code 2013, we will consider recommending a sanction to the Minister. The Minister may choose to issue a formal warning or an exclusion sanction to preclude a contractor from tendering for commonwealth funded building work for a period of time.

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 we reach more of the Australian building and construction industry and that we are responsive to changes in the industry. The ABCC has offices in each state and territory enabling us to monitor building work wherever it is undertaken, and to be a national, fully accessible and responsive regulator. Our strategic objectives are reflective of this and remain focused on our commitment to change behaviour in the industry to ensure that the rule of law is upheld.


  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018 Australian System of National Accounts, 2017-18, table 5 cat. No. 5204.0, ABS, Canberra.
  2. Deloitte Access Economics Investment monitor – Business investment set to slowly recover, March 2019.
  3. Australian Bureau of Statistics 2019 Labour Force, Australia, May 2019, table 4 cat. No. 6291.0.55.003, ABS, Canberra.
  4. Australian Department of Jobs and Small Business Industry Employment Projections 2018 Report, 17 August 2018.

5. Strategic objectives

Figure 1 illustrates the interconnected nature of the ABCC’s purpose and strategic objectives.

Image depicts the ABCC’s five strategic objectives. This is explained in Part 5 of this Corporate Plan

The core of this diagram underpins our purpose to promote understanding and ensure compliance with workplace laws in the building and construction industry. The quadrants reflect our key strategic objectives to work with stakeholders through education, compliance monitoring and, when required, enforcement.

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 new tools and resources on our website, 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 information for wages and entitlements matters.

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

  • providing advice and assistance at every opportunity
  • visiting sites under construction to ensure employers and employees 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 60 seconds and respond to all queries within 24 hours
  • meeting with stakeholders and providing formal presentations.

3 – Impartially monitor and assess compliance by:

  • providing timely assessments of enterprise agreements for compliance with the Building Code 2016
  • ensuring more targeted compliance activities. The next 12 months will see a significant increase in the number of compliance activities undertaken relating to the building codes and wages and entitlements. 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 non-compliant 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 proceedings in accordance with the Fair Work Act 2009 and the BCIIP Act
  • recommending building code sanctions be imposed by the Minister where appropriate
  • seeking personal payment orders against individuals who engage in unlawful conduct, 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 recruit the best people available to supplement existing staff.

6. Capability

The ABCC has the plans and systems in place to achieve our purpose and strategic objectives over the next four years.

Our key capability plans ensure the right people, technology and property resources are deployed. Our risk management and oversight systems ensure risks are identified, reported, monitored and controlled.

Workforce Plan

The ABCC’s staff are highly qualified and experienced across a range of disciplines to ensure 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 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, and that we are able to respond to new and emerging trends.

Capital Investment

Investment priorities for the ABCC are focused on enabling improved service delivery to meet changing needs and demands. 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 that appropriate planning is in place to build business capability.

ICT Capability

The IT Capability Plan supports the delivery of agency services and aims to increase staff productivity. It sets out the high level strategies in place to ensure the ABCC and its employees are equipped with appropriate technology to undertake their work effectively and efficiently – whether in an office environment or in the field. Progress against the IT Capability Plan is reported to the Executive Team regularly.

Property Management Plan

The ABCC’s Property Management Plan promotes the efficient, effective, economical and ethical use of commonwealth resources when delivering the agency’s property requirements. The Property Management Plan outlines the agency’s current and future property needs and identifies risks and mitigation strategies.

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 policies and procedures that provide a structured approach to managing risk and developing a positive risk culture. The main elements are the ABCC Risk Management Policy and Plan, the ABCC Strategic Risk Register, operational risk profiles, and risk assessment and reporting tools.

The risk management framework complies with section 16 of the PGPA Act, the Commonwealth Risk Management Policy, and AS ISO 31000:2018 Risk management – Guidelines.

The ABCC takes a practical and cost-effective approach to risk management, and embeds risk in whole-of-agency operations through:

  • an annual review of strategic goals and risks for the agency
  • integrating risk assessments into the business planning cycle
  • regular reporting of risks and risk treatment plans to monitor and review current risks
  • quarterly reporting of risks and risk treatment plans to the Audit Committee
  • regular reviews of the Fraud Control Plan and Fraud Risk Assessment.

The ABCC’s Audit Committee comprises an independent Chair, an independent member and a senior ABCC officer. The Audit Committee provides assurance to the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner on our financial and performance reporting, internal controls and system of risk oversight and management.

Our internal audit function supports the Audit Committee by delivering a risk-based audit, assurance and compliance program that is responsive to the ABCC’s changing operating environment and priorities.

8. Performance – measuring our success

The ABCC’s strategic objectives describe how we will achieve our purpose and the services we provide to the building and construction industry. The primary 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 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 Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations. Through this annual process, we demonstrate our accountability and transparency to the Minister, the Parliament, and the Australian public.

9. Our key performance indicators

Table 1: Measuring our success against our objectives
Strategic Objective KPI Measure Performance Target PBS KPI
2019-20 2020-21 2021-22 2022-23
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%
Advise and assist everyone to understand their rights and obligations 2 Number of formal presentations delivered to stakeholders. 175 175 175 175
3 Surveyed stakeholders who are satisfied or highly satisfied with the quality and timeliness of advice and assistance provided. 80% 80% 80% 80%
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 2016. 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. 450 450 450 450
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
8 Percentage of successful civil penalty proceedings. 80% 80% 80% 80% N/A

Contact us

Australian Capital Territory

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Law Courts
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