National crisis in construction requires urgent Federal Government intervention

Published: 5 Nov 2019

The Federal Government must intervene in the national construction crisis, and save $2.1 billion through the harmonisation of construction laws.

The CFMEU today released the report ‘Solving the National Construction Crisis’ which identifies three key recommendations the Federal Government should adopt to solve the national crisis in construction.

CFMEU Construction and General Division National Secretary, Dave Noonan said ‘the real crisis in construction is industry and government failures, which have wasted billions and endangered lives.

“It has left consumers with cracked apartments, flammable cladding and governments that waste billions on delivering projects.

“Successive Federal and State governments have consistently failed to properly regulate the sector, and unfortunately its workers and home owners who are left to pick up the pieces.

“So far, the crisis has cost $6.2 billion in building defects, remediation and associated costs, while a lack of expertise has seen Australian governments waste $10.8 billion in the last ten years.

“State governments simply don’t know what they’re doing because outsourcing has gone too far. This has led to massive infrastructure delays and costs blowouts.

“Instead of doing anything about these real issues, the Federal Government’s ‘Ensuring Integrity’ Bill will try to silence union leaders, lower safety standards, clamp rights at work and cut wages.

“The only thing it ensures is fatter profits for property developers, lower wages and worse safety.

“While the problems with the building and construction sector may seem entrenched and overwhelming, the Federal Government retains important levers which could be used to help solve the crisis.

“We’ve carefully articulated why and how this national crisis in construction has emerged.

“Today we lay out three important steps the Federal Government could take to tackle this crisis.

“To prevent enormous waste in government infrastructure spend, the Federal government should require jurisdictions to demonstrate informed purchaser capacity in delivery of projects they are funded for.

“Secondly, Federal intervention to harmonise construction laws nationally could save taxpayers a further $2.1 billion in defects and administrative costs.

“Thirdly, Federal funding should be contingent on jurisdictions having an appropriate pre-qualification regime which accounts for past performance against safety, worker’s entitlements and wages and the delivery of government projects on time, and on-budget.

“Australian governments, the private sector and unions collectively owe it to the community to come together and resolve the national crisis in construction.

“As always, the construction union stands ready to work with government and the private sector to tackle this vitally important task for the Australian people.

The full report, ‘Solving the National Construction Crisis’ can be found here.