Working in Australia’s Building and Construction Industry

Video Transcript:

Working in Australia’s Building and Construction Industry

What you need to know

Presenter :

Hi. My name’s Marty and I work as a construction worker in Australia.

Here, there are workplace laws in the building and construction industry. These laws set out my rights and responsibilities and are designed to protect me.

If you are going to work in building or construction it’s important that you understand a bit about these laws. They may be different from employment laws in your country of origin.

These laws say that I should receive a minimum pay and entitlements. They also say that I can expect to be treated fairly at work and that some behaviour is unacceptable in Australia’s building and construction industry. It’s important that you know about your rights as a building or construction worker.

Fair Work Building & Construction is an organisation that helps people who work in Australia’s building and construction industry to understand their workplace rights and responsibilities.

They give out information to workers, employers and contractors. They also investigate problems and take legal action when workplace laws are broken.

As a worker in Australia, your workplace rights are a valuable resource. If you are unsure, or need help, it’s okay to speak with someone at Fair Work Building & Construction.

You can phone them and speak to someone in your own language and you can have a confidential conversation.

The building and construction industry is one of Australia’s most important industries because it provides our homes, our schools, our workplaces and our hospitals. It also provides our roads, water and electricity supply, and telecommunications. All these things are essential for our day-to-day living.

You might find the workplace culture in Australia is different from your country of origin. The Fair Work Building & Construction’ website contains information as well as common workplace case studies to help you understand your rights and obligations.

Finding and starting a new job can be one of the hardest parts of working in Australia. When you first start work, your employer should give you a Fair Work Information Statement. This document talks about what you can expect as a worker in Australia. It covers workplace conditions, your right to different types of holiday time, maximum weekly work hours, flexible working arrangements and what must happen if your employer wants to end your employment.

If you have started work, and have not received a Fair Work Information Statement, you can download one in your language from the Fair Work Building & Construction website.

All people working in Australia have basic rights and responsibilities, regardless of how long they stay here.

Overseas workers in Australia, including those on a 457 visa, are entitled to receive the same wages as local workers who are doing the same work at the same workplace.

For more information on 457 visas go to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship website (

Fair Work Building & Construction can give you information about:

·         what you should be paid

·         the entitlements you should be receiving in your job

·         your responsibilities as a worker and

·         whether you should be employed as an employee or a contractor.

Workplace agreements are an important part of Australia’s fair work system. They provide minimum employment conditions that apply to employers and employees. In the building and construction industry most employees are covered by an enterprise agreement or an Award. 

An enterprise agreement is a registered agreement negotiated between an employer and its employees.

An award is a set of minimum terms and conditions of employment that is occupation or industry specific. Most employees that are covered by an award are covered by the Building and Construction General On-site Award 2010.

You can read the award on the Fair Work Building & Construction website.

If you think you’re being underpaid, call Fair Work Building & Construction on 1800 003 338.

Australian workplace laws provide general protections for all workers.  No worker can be forced to do anything, or be threatened about their rights under these laws.  For example, you can’t be made to undertake unsafe work and you can’t be forced to go on strike if you want to continue to work.

If you feel you are being forced to do something that would violate your workplace rights, call Fair Work Building & Construction on 1800 003 338.

If you want to join a union it is you right to do so.  However, if you don’t want to be in a union, no one can force you to join one.  Australian laws protect you from discrimination regardless of the choice that you make..



If you feel your employer doesn’t give you a choice about being part of a union or industrial association, Fair Work Building & Construction can help.


Australian workers have different workplace entitlements depending on whether they are a contractor or an employee. It is illegal for an employer to treat you as a contractor if you are an employee. This is sometimes done so the employer can avoid providing full entitlements.

If you’re confused about whether you’re an employee or a contractor, or if your employer insists you get an Australian Business Number, you can phone Fair Work Building & Construction on 1800 003 338 for advice or use the employment checklist on the website.



Whether you’re starting a new job or want to make sure you understand your rights and obligations at your current job, you should complete the Fair Work Building & Construction employment checklist

This checklist will help you understand your rights and is available on the Fair Work Building & Construction website.

You will also find translated fact sheets in your language on the website.

If you have any questions about your job, or if any issues arise at work, you can speak to your employer. It may be a misunderstanding and easy to fix.

If your employer cannot help, or you need more information, you can contact Fair Work Building & Construction. Their services are free and you don’t have to give them your name.


I hope you enjoy working in the Australian building and construction industry as much as I do.

Fair Work Building & Construction

1800 003 338