06 August 2015 Industry Update

Q & A with FWBC

To learn more about FWBC and clear up common misunderstandings about the agency, we have prepared a short questions and answer. If you think this information will be helpful to people you know in the building and construction industry, please forward it on to them and encourage them to sign up for Industry Update, which is free. Send them this sign up link. If you have any questions you would like answered in the next Q&A please email them to media [at] fwbc.gov.au

1.)What is FWBC?

Fair Work Building and Construction is a Federal Government agency that enforces workplace laws on building and construction sites. Our vision is that all Australian building and construction workplaces are productive and harmonious. Our mission is to ensure that the rule of law prevails in the industry.

2.)What does FWBC do?

FWBC is responsible for educating and advising building and construction industry participants about their rights and responsibilities. We are responsible for investigating allegations of coercion, unlawful industrial action (strikes and strike pay), right of entry breaches and freedom of association and discrimination problems in the building and construction industry.  Where there  is evidence the law has been broken, and it is in the public interest, we put matters before courts. FWBC is also responsible for ensuring compliance with the Building Code 2013, which relates specifically to behaviour on Commonwealth-funded projects.

3.)Is FWBC anti-union? Is it true that it is only out to get unions?

FWBC is not anti-union. Where the evidence exists, and it is in the public interest, FWBC will bring those committing unlawful behaviour on construction sites before the courts, whether the perpetrator be the union, a company, an employer organisation or employee.

Just recently, FWBC filed proceedings in the Federal Court against a major construction company after it allegedly refused to engage the services of a crane company that had not signed an enterprise agreement preferred by the construction company.

4.)What do investigators do? What do they investigate?

The role of an FWBC investigator is to investigate alleged unlawful behaviour on building and construction sites. In particular they investigate issues surrounding coercion, right of entry, discrimination, unlawful industrial action, freedom of association and the Building Code 2013. They also educate building and construction industry participants about their rights and responsibilities on construction sites by attending sites and answering queries via FWBC’s hotline. If you would like to speak to one of our investigators about an issue or for more information about FWBC, call our Hotline on 1800 003 338.

5.)Is it true that FWBC investigators come onto site to take away workers’ wages and entitlements?

FWBC investigators are not out to take away workers’ wages and entitlements, nor do they have any power do so. FWBC investigators are there to help people in the building and construction industry, including workers, employers and union officials.

6.)Does FWBC have anything to do with safety?

FWBC exists to ensure that the Fair Work Act is being adhered to on Australian building and construction sites. These laws have been put in place to protect all building and construction industry participants. FWBC is not directly responsible for safety on building and construction sites. Each state has a different agency which is responsible for this (see the list of agencies below). FWBC still takes safety on site very seriously. Where FWBC is involved in safety, for example, is where someone has entered a site under Right of Entry laws, and does not comply with the site’s safety procedures. FWBC would investigate and possibly prosecute this because it could be a breach of Right of Entry laws. FWBC has put a number of cases like this before court.

Worksafe Victoria www.worksafe.vic.gov.au

Worksafe WA www.commerce.wa.gov.au

Worksafe ACT www.act.gov.au

SafeWork NSW  www.safework.nsw.gov.au

NT WorkSafe www.worksafe.nt.gov.au

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland www.worksafe.qld.gov.au

SafeWork SA www.safework.sa.gov.au

Worksafe Tasmania www.worksafe.tas.gov.au

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