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WA plans new construction union watchdog

WA Commerce Minister Troy Buswell said today that the state Liberal-National government would form the specialised team if the powers of the ABCC are reduced under new industrial relations legislation, which is expected to be tabled in federal parliament this week. Buswell said that under federal Labor’s changes, the ABCC is expected to be relegated to a future as an inspectorate within the new Fair Work Australia department, where he fears it will have a diminished role. He said the federal ABCC set up by the former Howard government had achieved strong success in controlling thuggery and maverick union behaviour on Australian construction sites. “But I am extremely concerned that the commission’s days are numbered under federal Labor, which has been under pressure from its union mates to pull the ABCC’s teeth,” Buswell said. “If that proves to be the case, our government will not stand by and allow unions to return to ruling the industry in this state. “Kevin Reynolds might think his re-election is a mandate for that, but Mr Reynolds needs to think again.” Buswell said the Rudd government had appointed Justice Murray Wilcox to review the commission’s powers ahead of its incorporation within Fair Work Australia. “We will be watching this process very closely,” Buswell said. “The Gallop Labor government, when it was elected, went through exactly the same steps in doing away with the Building Industry Task Force introduced by Richard Court. The ABCC had its genesis in our BITF. “If we see any sign of the ABCC being turned into a tame-cat compliance unit within a government department then we will act to bring back a version of the BITF in WA.”

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