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Western Australia’s big move to protect construction subbies

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Readers may have noticed the somewhat messy outcome with the Federal Government’s ABCC legislation last week. The key killer is that the associated federal construction code will not have application for two years. That means that big construction firms will have two years to continue to collude with unions to screw over small business construction subcontractors.  Here’s commentary from Judith Sloan in The Australian showing why it’s a mess.
But riding in from the West is a different player!

On Monday the Western Australian government announced its own construction code. ICA Executive Director Ken Phillips wrote about it in The West Australian on Friday. Here’s the new WA code. It’s reasonably easy to understand! Helpful information is also here.

What’s important to understand about construction codes is that if the big construction firms fail to comply, they are excluded from government-funded construction. This creates real commercial leverage to comply. The WA code has an important small business focus where construction firms must:
  • Pay subcontractors on time
  • Comply with small business unfair contract laws
and where the WA Small Business Commissioner can investigate and mediate on disputes and refer unresolved issues to the code compliance unit.

Further, there’s no delay in starting. The WA Code starts on 1 January 2017.

As Ken said in his article:
"What the Barnett Government has put together is an important process for addressing the power imbalance between big business, their big union “partners” and small business subcontractors."

So, yes, Christmas cheer to WA construction subbies!


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