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News News Safety a Glaring Omission in Wilcox Report on Future of ABCC
Construction workers today said the Wilcox report on the future of the Australian Building and Construction
Commission fell short of addressing the real issue of safety in the construction industry, where statistics show one worker dies each week.
Dave Noonan, CFMEU Construction Division National Secretary said the report failed to address safety or
breaches in international law and called on the Government to stand up for the principles of worker’s rights to a safe workplace and equality before the law.
“The right of construction workers to have a safe working environment is a glaring hole in the report. Justice
Wilcox has skimmed over the issue of safety, which is a basic right of construction workers.
“It is shameful that the two employers used to prop up arguments for the retention of the powers of the ABCC, BHP Billiton and John Holland, have had a worker die on site in the last fortnight,” said Dave Noonan.
The 154 page report does not mention the safety record of the construction industry or the fact that one
worker dies on average each week.
“To ignore this fact fails to present an accurate picture of the construction industry and the laws required to
protect workers and employers.”
“The so called ‘industrial harmony’ brought about by the ABCC and heralded by Justice Wilcox comes at the
expense of the lives of construction workers. We have deteriorating safety on construction site across
Australia. At the very time Justice Wilcox was finalising his report, BHP and John Holland had a construction
worker killed on their project,” said Mr Noonan.
The report also fails to deal with breaches to international law by the building and construction laws. Australia has been criticised by the International Labor Organisation six times for undermining workers rights.
Australia’s construction unions will continue with the campaign for rights on site, using the full strength of the union movement.
“Workers rights to a safe workplace and equality before the law are core Labor principles. Construction
workers, their unions and 10,000 working Australians will continue to campaign for rights on site, so all
Australian workers are equal before the law,” said Mr Noonan.
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