Reports that Senator Derryn Hinch has re-evaluated his position on landmark legislation governing the construction sector have been met positively by NECA.
This could result in a reduction in the transition period for compliance with the Building Code 2016, from two years to the original nine months, as well as require businesses to comply with the Code in order to be eligible to be awarded federal government contracts.
According to NECA chief executive Suresh Manickam, “It would also assist in raising productivity and creating more jobs in the building and construction sector, while reducing industrial threats and disputes.”
“These changes would be a great outcome for our members, many of whom are Australian small-to medium-enterprises (SMEs) – small family owned and run businesses,” said Suresh.
“The Building Code 2016 provides sub-contractors with vital protections, including in respect of freedom of association, coercion and security of payment.”
“Senator Hinch has cited conversations with sub-contractors and SMEs in the construction industry as the catalyst for re-assessment,” continued Suresh.
“The Senator should be commended for listening to Australian sub-contractors and having the courage to publicly change his position as a result.”
NECA has called on the government to expedite the changes.
“NECA also calls on the government to consider granting the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) the power to sanction and/or exclude from federal government contracts head contractors who have repeatedly failed to make payments or return retention money within the specified time to sub-contractors,” said Suresh.
“Electrical contractors are often the last in the line of credit to receive payment for work completed, in the event of a construction firm facing financial difficulties. In cases where the company falls into receivership, electrical contractors often do not receive payment at all.
“Electrical contractors arguably provide the highest value inputs of all sub-contractors by way of fixtures, fittings and labour.
“They are therefore the most vulnerable with respect to payments in the event of receivership. In other words, electrical contractors are at a greater potential disadvantage than any other sub-contractor.”
By implementing these changes “the government can set a good example for the construction industry more broadly,” concluded Suresh.