Building ministers must take urgent action to protect the community and restore confidence

Published: 20 Jul 2019

The construction union has called on Federal and State building ministers to take urgent action to protect the community and restore confidence in the building sector after the Building Minister’s Forum held an emergency meeting yesterday.

While welcoming a commitment to adopting a national approach, the construction union has expressed disappointment the Building Minister’s Forum, did not address a range of issues vital to protecting the community and restoring confidence in the building and construction industry.

The union’s National Construction Secretary Dave Noonan said the while the commitment of Federal and State ministers to work together was a positive step, such meetings needed to result effective action and real change.

“The national crisis in the construction industry requires close the co-operation and of Federal and State ministers and we welcome yesterday’s commitment at the Building Ministers Forum to work together.

“However, it should be noted that this was the 12th Building Ministers Forum since 2015. Most of the forums have made similarly lofty pronouncements which were cause for optimism at the time only to disappoint later due to lack of real world action and follow through”

“In addition, unfortunately, what we didn’t see yesterday seen was any urgent commitment to address the range problems endangering the community right now, or an urgent response the national crisis in construction.

“We’ve seen no tangible solution to address the insurance crisis, which is shattering confidence across the building sector, putting thousands of construction industry jobs at risk.

“We’ve seen no national response to the flammable cladding crisis. It’s been four years since the union raised serious concerns, yet with the exception of Victoria, who are contributing $600 million to address the problem, no national commitment to resolving the cladding issue came from yesterday’s meeting.

“There was no commitment to protect whistle-blowers who identify dangerous or non-complying construction work, like plasterer Troy Clothier on the Gold Coast, who was sacked for blowing the whistle on building work that failed the fire safety rating.

“Nor is there any timeline for registering engineers whose faulty design and inspection work may result in buildings which leak, do not meet fire safety requirements or are prone to structural failure, as we have seen at the Opal and Mascot Towers in Sydney.

Mr Noonan also said the union was willing to work with government to resolve these important issues for the community.

“This national crisis in construction can only be resolved through close consultation with workers and the CFMMEU will continue to play a constructive role in developing solutions for our industry.

“We’ll be producing detailed policy solutions and will work with the Federal and State governments across Australia over the coming months.

“Governments, unions and industry owe it to workers and the community collectively take ownership of this problem and work together to resolve this national construction crisis.”