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AREEA applauds 5 year tenure of building industry’s tough cop

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AUSTRALIA’S leading resource industry employer group, AREEA, said it was disappointed to hear the Deputy Prime Minister would not be reappointing Australian Building and Construction Commissioner [ABCC], John Lloyd, to the role of ABCC Commissioner in September.

AREEA Chief Executive, Steve Knott, said Mr Lloyd’s departure from the role of Commissioner would be a significant blow to the building and construction industry.

“Over the past 5 years, due largely in part to the actions of Commissioner Lloyd and his staff, productivity in the nation’s construction and building industries has improved significantly. As a consequence more projects were being completed on time, with far less illegal strike activity occurring,”

“Commissioner Lloyd’s success in this endeavour, often in the face of a concerted union campaign of resistance to his reform agenda, is a testament to both his professionalism and that of his staff.” Mr Knott said.

Mr Knott said in the most recent economic analysis of the impact the ABCC has had upon industry productivity, it was found that:

  • construction productivity had lifted by 10%, resulting in a $5.5 billion gain to Australian consumers; and
  • the number of working days lost per year in the construction industry had been slashed dramatically from 164,000 to less than 14,000.

“Such results are truly outstanding, and have benefited the nation as a whole,”

“As the Government currently has legislation stalled in the Senate under which many of powers of the ABCC building watchdog will be neutered, one can only presume the Deputy Prime Minister will seek to apply the same appointment process to Commissioner Lloyd’s successor that she had publicly advocated as being the model for the appointment of Fair Work Commissioners.” Mr Knott said.

Mr Knott said in May 2007 the Deputy Prime Minister said the appointment processes for Fair Work Australia would include a shortlist of candidates first being scrutinised by a panel comprised of senior officials from:

  • the Department of Employment and Industrial Relations (Panel Chair);
  • the Australian Public Service Commission; and
  • each State (and Territory) Department of Industrial Relations that wishes to participate.

“Ms Gillard also assured us on receipt of the short listed candidates – and prior to making any decision about appointments – the Minister would also be required to consult with both the Federal Opposition Spokesperson for Industrial Relations, as well as the Head of Fair Work Australia.”

“AREEA is hopeful that, unlike as we have seen in some recent Industrial Relations Commission appointments, this selection procedure is actually adhered to in the future,” he said.

“Only this way can the building and construction industry be assured that Mr Lloyd’s successor is actually selected on merit and has the independence needed to allow them to perform the job of being the tough cop on the beat.”

Mr Knott said AREEA fully supported the retention of the ABCC’s powers and it’s independent role.

“In order to continue to deliver the productivity gains our nation needs in the future, just as we have seen under the tenure of Commissioner Lloyd, the ABCC needs a tough and determined leader who is beholden to no-one and who acts only in the national interest.” Mr Knott said.


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