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MEA welcomes decision to amend and strengthen ABCC

Master Electricians Australia has today welcomed Senator Derryn Hinch’s decision to seek to amend and strengthen the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).

The Victorian Senator confirmed overnight that he has changed his mind on the original concessions he sought when the ABCC was passed last November, following extensive consultation with subcontractors and construction companies over the summer.

MEA Manager of Advisory Services Jason O’Dwyer hailed the Senator’s change of heart and urged the Senate to enact the amendments as soon as possible.

“Master Electricians has been campaigning for the reinstatement of a strong and effective ABCC ever since the Gillard Labor Government scrapped it in 2012 and we are delighted that our years of advocacy on this issue are set to pay off,” Mr O’Dwyer said.

“The ABCC legislation that was passed last November was significantly weakened due to concessions sought at the time from Senator Hinch, so we are delighted that the Senator has since consulted with electrical subcontractors and in the process changed his mind on those concessions.

“Should the senate pass these amendments, it will be great news to MEA members right throughout Australia who have had to endure the threatening, bullying and thuggish behaviour of militant union officials from the CFMEU.

“Master Electricians now calls on the other senate crossbenchers to not go to water on this issue and for the senate to enact the amendments to the ABCC as soon as possible.”

The government will put forward two amendments – the first will wind the transition period from two years to nine months and the second will prohibit companies with non-code-compliant enterprise agreements to be awarded commonwealth-funded building work.

“These amendments greatly strengthen the ABCC and MEA believes they will be effective in breaking up the construction cartel between the CFMEU and big construction companies,” Mr O’Dwyer said.

“The concessions made in the original legislation has still allowed the CFMEU to impose its militant behaviour on construction companies that had defied their excessive demands.

“We thank Senator Hinch for taking the time to consult and listen to the industry and we urge all other crossbench senators to support these amendments when the vote takes place.”

The government has already agreed to the changes which will now be sent to a senate committee, which is expected to report next week with a vote in the senate to follow.

Jason O’Dwyer is available for interview. Please phone SAS Group on 07 3221 9222.

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