The Australian Building and Construction Commission appeared before the Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee at the 2016-17 Budget Estimates hearing on 30 May 2017.

In his opening statement to the committee, Commissioner Nigel Hadgkiss focused on the continuing work of the agency to assist industry with achieving compliance with the Building Code 2016. Nigel told Senators the agency had delivered on its commitment to streamline the process for assessing enterprise agreements. Guidance material had also been published on the ABCC website with more than 500 agreement clauses (that figure has now grown to over 1600).

Nigel said the ABCC was assessing over 300 agreements a month, a number which should enable the agency to meet the timing required for industry to secure compliance for their agreements. He added systems were now in place to prioritise urgent applications.

Committee members were also updated on compliance efforts being undertaken by the agency. One builder had a sanction imposed by the Minister earlier this year. Nigel had also issued ‘show-cause’ letters to three other companies. Each of those related to suspected breaches of the Code, including one on a Security of Payment matter. 

On wages and entitlements, the agency is providing advice, and where necessary, will take enforcement action. Nigel told Senators that targeted proactive audits of key industry sectors would be carried out. Indeed, the first series of proactive audits had commenced with a focus on the concreting and formwork sector. 

Nigel advised that breaches of workplace laws will continue to be effectively enforced, whether they are by employers, employees, or unions, and whether they are in relation to wages and entitlements, unlawful industrial action, coercion, discrimination, or right of entry.