Written on the 28 January 2015

RETAINING recent building industry reforms, including changes to the workers' compensation scheme and industrial relations changes, is an essential step for any government serious about maintaining rule of law on Queensland construction sites and ensuring the building industry remains the number one employer of full-time jobs in Queensland.

Master Builders strongly opposes any intention to wind back these reforms, citing them as initiatives that have greatly improved productivity conditions in the commercial sector of the industry.

Master Builders' Executive Director, Grant Galvin, said that changes to the workers' compensation scheme last year, which saw the introduction of a modest common law threshold that reduced average employer premiums by 17%, have been welcomed by the industry, with their impact already felt.

"We also strongly support the 24 hour notice requirements for union officials wishing to enter construction sites for the purposes of health and safety," Mr Galvin said.

"Bringing these provisions into line with federal laws has been extremely effective in preventing safety issues being used as an industrial weapon by construction unions.

"These changes have been highly valued by construction industry employers and we're strongly urging both parties to maintain them, as well as considering other changes that will further improve the industry's performance.

"We believe the workers' compensation scheme can be further improved by re-establishing third party protections, which is essential for protecting the interests of head contractors and trade contractors, as well as eliminating unnecessary legal costs and uncertainty.

"We would also recommend that the Queensland Code of Practice for the Building and Construction Industry be expanded to introduce a drug and alcohol policy. The Building and Construction Compliance Branch is contributing to improving productivity in the industry and a commitment to expanding this work would send a positive signal to the whole industry."

Mr Galvin added that with both major parties including job creation as a key focus of their State Election 2015 campaign, the other key area Master Builders has identified is an overhaul to the current apprenticeship system.

"An overhaul to the current system is essential if we want to achieve a robust building industry training system in Queensland that provides relevant and beneficial training.

"We're keen to work with the government to develop a new apprenticeship system that increases both the uptake and completion of new apprenticeships both of these outcomes are crucial to ensuring a strong building industry in the future and will help drive the government's focus on job creation."






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