Building and Construction Industry Set for a Shake-Up Following ABCC Abolition

As of 6th February 2023, the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) has been abolished and its powers have been transferred to the Fair Work Ombudsman as part of the Secure Jobs, Better Pay reforms. The changes are designed to streamline the regulation of workplace relations in the building and construction industry.

Under the new system, the Fair Work Ombudsman will have responsibility for investigating and enforcing compliance with workplace laws. The Ombudsman will also have the power to initiate legal proceedings against employers and unions that breach workplace laws. The reforms are expected to simplify the compliance process for employers and improve transparency and accountability in the industry.

As part of the reforms, the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Act 2016 (BCIIP Act) has been amended, and the Building Code 2016 has been repealed. The changes are intended for a shift towards a more cooperative approach to workplace relations in the building and construction industry. The BCIIP Act will continue to regulate workplace relations in the industry, but with a greater focus on productivity, efficiency, and cooperation.

The reforms have also carved out the building and construction industry from the multi-employer bargaining provisions of the Fair Work Act, with some exceptions. This carve-out applies to “general building and construction work” as defined by the Building and Construction General On-site Award 2020.

Further into the year the National Construction Industry Forum, will begin operation. Its purpose is to provide advice to the Government in relation to work in the building and construction industry. The Forum will consist of members appointed by the Minister, including those with experience representing employees and employers in the industry. It will meet twice a year and provide advice on various matters. The Forum will commence on 1 July 2023.

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