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WA construction code provides benefits for subbies

Sunday, March 05, 2017

We’ve already expressed our strong support and endorsement for the Western Australian Construction Code. It’s a huge step forward for construction subbies who suffer from an imbalance of power with the big construction firms.

ICA held a breakfast in Perth recently on the Code with presentations by ICA Executive Director Ken Phillips and WA Treasurer Mike Nahan. Ken explained the Code and Mike Nahan talked about the government’s motivations for the Code’s introduction.

We all know that these things can be bit of a ‘blab on’, but here’s the full video of the breakfast ‘chats’:

Key time-points in the video are:
  • Code enforcement (35 min mark)
  • Importance of unfair contract compliance for small business  (38 min mark)
  • Are the resources in place to ensure compliance? (40 min mark)
Of course, if there’s a change of government at the WA election this Saturday (11 March), we’d anticipate a Labor government would abolish the Code.

But if the Barnett government is re-elected, the comments by Mike Nahan are important. Mike Nahan:
  • Talks about the common sense realities of construction (42.30 min mark)
  • Says the ethos of the industry has to be addressed and where the message to big business is ‘comply with the laws mate’ (45 min mark)
  • Is worried about costs in the construction sector (49.30 min mark)
  • He points out that in plans to spend $6-7billion on construction, the WA government currently dominates the construction sector. He wants value for money and doesn’t want subbies ill-treated.
  • Says the code doesn’t mention unions. Unions simply work to collude with some head contractors. It’s the head contractors who are the focus of our attention. ‘The unions are not relevant or the target of this stuff’. (52 min mark)
  • On enforcement, says the Code is simply telling the head contractors to obey these laws. ‘If you don’t ….we will go down the process of banning you from work…we will enforce that’ (53min mark) and
  • ‘We developed a code to enforce it(1.03.50 mark)

If the Barnett government is re-elected, the Construction Code shapes up as a big game-changer for a fairer deal for subbies in the WA construction sector.


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