FEDERAL INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS LEGISLATION COMPLIANCE
The Hon. J. M. SAMIOS: Is the Attorney General, and Minister for Industrial Relations aware of reports in today’s Sydney Morning Herald that Mr Warren Irving, Executive Director of the Building Industry Specialist Contracting Organisation, has supported the claims of Federal Minister Reith that the corrupt practices of the past have returned to the New South Wales construction industry? Given that the Minister has generally endorsed Federal Minister Reith’s plan to deny government business to those companies that have breached the code of practice, will he immediately investigate Mr Irving’s claim and take action against any company that may have breached the code of practice?
The Hon. J. W. SHAW: I am aware of comments made yesterday by the Building Industry Specialist Contracting Organisation - BISCO - which are reported in today’s paper. I have yet to see any clear or cogent evidence of breaches of the industry code of practice. If such evidence or detailed material is provided, obviously it will be investigated by appropriate government agencies. As members of the House would know, there is a general agreement between the relevant union and Holland Constructions in relation to the showground site. The code of practice provides that project agreements incorporating a special site-wide payment, conditions and/or benefits may be negotiated. Indeed, I think I am right is saying that Mr Reith’s national code of practice also contemplates that there may be a project agreement in relation to a building and construction site.
That approach is contrary to the stance taken by the Opposition in this House on industrial relations legislation when it opposed tooth and nail the idea of a project agreement on a building site. The Federal Government recognises the practical virtue of a site agreement. The tension seems to exist in relation to whether subcontractors coming onto the site pay in accordance with the project agreement. The New South Wales code of practice
does not preclude proper negotiations with subcontractors to urge that they should pay workers on the same basis as workers are paid in accordance with the project agreement. In short, the Government has not been persuaded that any substantial breach of the relevant code of practice is occurring in New South Wales. If there is evidence of such a breach, the relevant employer bodies should produce it to the Government, to the Minister for the Olympics, to the Minister for Public Works or to me for examination.