New Ministers Have Their Work Cut Out to Assist Building Professionals

The Australian Institute of Building (AIB) today welcomed Fridays appointment of the new ministers in the Gillard Government, but warned that the new ministers should not be complacent when it comes to the myriad of issues facing building professionals.

Robert Hunt, AIB Chief Executive Officer, stated I congratulate the new ministers, and urge them – in particular, Greg Combet, Minister for Industry, Chris Evans, Minister for Tertiary Education and Skills, Brendan OConnor, Minister for Housing and Small Business, and Bill Shorten, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations – to improve the working and educational lives of current and future building professionals.

The quality of current and future building professionals is the key to ensuring the best standards in the building and construction industry in Australia. This is too important to leave to chance, and the AIB seeks the active support of the new ministers to ensure the highest standards in the industry.

Issues such as the health and safety of building professionals, harmonising building licensing and creating an industrial relations environment in which productivity does not suffer are further issues for the new ministers. I look forward to speaking to them and working together on these and other important matters, said Mr Hunt.

Building Professionals Slam Government Decision to Scrap ABCC

The Australian Institute of Building (AIB) today joined the recent comments by industry and other professional groups to condemn the Governments decision to abolish the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner (ABCC).

The AIB strongly endorses yesterdays statement from Master Builders Australia that the planned abolition of the ABCC will result in a significant decline in productivity in the building and construction industry said Mr Robert Hunt, AIB Chief Executive Officer.

Since the establishment of the ABCC in 2005, building sites across Australia have seen a massive cultural shift. The level of industrial action has sharply declined to a level that is comparable with other industries. Clear rules were put in place that managers and workers understand, and all parties became clear about their rights and responsibilities.

Mr Hunt added, It is baffling and frustrating that the Government is legislating to dismantle a system that has been working so well. We urge the Government to reconsider, and for other parties to block this legislation in the Senate. Without strong sanctions against illegal behavior in the construction industry, and regulation to compel people to speak about such behavior that they have witnessed, then we will see a return to this behaviour. The ABCC also protects workers by enforcing that employers pay them the correct pay scales, so everybody benefitted.

The legislated changes will make life more difficult for our members in the construction industry and send the wrong message to those considering professional careers in the industry that the sort of behaviour seen in years in gone by is acceptable by watering down the sanctions against it.

Overall, this is a very bad move by the Government. The $100 billion construction industry will suffer, and therefore will have significant flow on effect into the rest of the Australian economy, said Mr Hunt.

AIB welcomes SA Governments Training Initiative

The Australian Institute of Building (AIB) welcomes the South Australian Governments announcement that employers in industries with skills shortages in jobs critical to the States future economic growth can now apply for funding of up to 90 per cent of the cost of training.

Robert Hunt, AIB Chief Executive Officer, stated that, This announcement makes a great deal of sense for South Australias construction industry. In particular the Olympic Dam Expansion, as well as upcoming mining work in South Australia, will require many skilled workers. However, this will also drain the local construction industry of skilled labour. Therefore, there is a need for further training to make up the shortfall.

Mr Hunt added, There are major infrastructure projects underway and soon to start in South Australia, such as the Southern Expressway, the Adelaide Oval, and the New Hospital. These will create pressure on the existing workforce. There is also the need to up-skill the workforce in the latest techniques.

There is also a large manufacturing base in South Australia, and retraining will help the employees in this sector will help them face the challenges of the future said Mr Hunt.