TODAY’S commitment from the Coalition to strongly crack down on trade union corruption and unlawfulness is a positive step towards Australia securing hundreds of billions of dollars of uncommitted investment in future resource industry projects.

“Resource employers welcome the Coalition bringing to account unions that wilfully break the law; better protecting businesses and employees from thuggery and intimidation, better safeguarding ordinary union members from being ripped off by corrupt officials, and ensuring Australian taxpayers are not grossly overcharged for new infrastructure,” says AMMA CEO Steve Knott.

“This is particularly vital for the future of Australia’s resource industry, with $255 billion of uncommitted project investment in the balance. A tougher stance against unlawful union behaviour is vital to converting this potential into jobs, economic growth and the taxes and royalties that fund hospitals, roads, schools and services.

“Extending effective legal enforcement to offshore resource projects is particularly welcome. Offshore construction has seen unsustainable cost escalations, inflexible working arrangements and major delays to project approvals due to a flawed workplace system and militant union tactics.

“No other country allows trade unions to so openly hold to ransom multi-billion dollar projects of significant national importance.  Australia must address these important issues if we are to thrive in a globalised, ultra-competitive investment environment and deliver jobs and growth for our future.”

Today, Employment Minister Michaelia Cash committed to adopt the majority of recommendations from the Heydon Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption, and to the creation of a new Registered Organisations Commission (ROC) that will ensure trade unions are subject to proper governance and accountability standards.

“Coupled with the Coalition restoring the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), adopting the Heydon Royal Commission’s recommendations and properly regulating union governance and accountability will send a clear message that the Australian community no longer tolerates illegal and threatening behaviours, and will no longer tolerate union leaders playing fast and loose with their members money,” Mr Knott continues.

“The Heydon Royal Commission exposed the dark underbelly of Australia’s union movement. While most unionists honestly represent their members, too many wilfully break our laws, ignore our courts, and pursue personal gain at the expense of their members.

“This cannot be allowed to continue. Today’s commitment is a significant step in the right direction.”

In AMMA’s 2016 Election Survey of more than 100 resource employers, 80% said a new Registered Organisations Commission to properly regulate union governance and accountability should be a priority for the Australian Government.

To learn more about this survey and AMMA’s ‘5 reforms over 5 years’ campaign, visit www.amma.org.au/backontrack

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