THE Senate must pass legislation to restore the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) to strengthen investor confidence and ensure the construction of new job-creating resource projects go ahead in Australia, says national resource industry employer group AMMA.

In its submission to the Senate’s inquiry into the Building & Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Bill this week, the third such inquiry in three years, AMMA says passage of the bill is a vital step to securing more multi-billion dollar resource projects in Australia.

“The building and construction industry is vital to the resource sector. Not just commodity prices, but also the costs of construction go a long way to determining our capacity to turn Australia’s wealth of natural resources into actual job-creating, tax-paying project developments,” says AMMA head of policy, Scott Barklamb.

“In extremely challenging economic and market conditions, it is vitally important that we strengthen the confidence of investors to do business in Australia. Part of that confidence is determined by our workplace relations environment and the cost, reliability and timeliness of constructing new mines, new wells and rigs, and new export facilities.

“The workplace relations environment in the building and construction industry will continue to negatively impact on investment decisions around major projects unless this bill is passed.”

AMMA’s pre-election survey of 100 resource companies representing over 85,000 employees found 82% support the urgent restoration of the ABCC. Another recent report found that days lost to industrial action have increased by 34% since the ABCC was abolished in 2012.

“In addition to reinstating the former legislative powers of the ABCC, resource employers welcome the bill’s new rules around unlawful picketing, holding unions more accountable for member conduct and reversing the onus of proof for some coercive and unlawful activities,” Mr Barklamb continues.

“These measures are critical to cleaning up the unacceptable cultures and practices that plague the building industry.

“The bill’s extended coverage to offshore resource construction will also be of massive benefit for jobs, and our future economic and community opportunities.

“Law abiding union officials, employers and workers have nothing to fear from strong laws that protect against intimidation, coercion and thuggery on building and construction sites.

“The time has come for the new Senate to do what the previous Senate could not – bring back a proven and effective tough cop on the beat of the Australian building and construction industry.”

Click here for AMMA’s submission on the ABCC bill.

Click here for a PDF of this release including relevant media contact.