The Victorian Coalition Government today released enhanced Implementation Guidelines to the Victorian Code of Practice for the Building and Construction Industry.
These new Guidelines will help to make vital infrastructure projects more affordable, leading to greater investment and employment opportunities for Victorians.
Premier Ted Baillieu and Minister for Finance Robert Clark said the new Guidelines would improve compliance with workplace laws, promote productivity and help prevent the sorts of massive cost blowouts that characterised Victorian Government projects under the former Labor Government.
The Guidelines, which have been finalised following public release of draft guidelines last October and extensive stakeholder consultation, will assist the construction industry to achieve behavioural change on Victorian building sites.
The Guidelines will apply to all construction projects funded by the Victorian public sector that are the subject of an expression of interest or request for tender on or after 1 July 2012.
The need for stronger Guidelines in Victoria is greater than ever before, given the Gillard Labor Government's recent decisions to substantially weaken its own National Guidelines and abolish the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).
The enhanced Guidelines will:
- apply to all on-site public building and construction work undertaken in Victoria;
- be binding on contractors in relation to their future privately-funded work;
- prohibit parties entering into sham contracting arrangements or arrangements designed to avoid strike pay, right of entry or freedom of association obligations;
- prohibit coercion or pressure to make over-award payments;
- require tenderers for projects where the Victorian public sector contribution is above a threshold level to submit detailed plans which identify their approach to various matters including workplace safety, dispute resolution, response to industrial action, right of entry, management of subcontractors and communication and consultation with the workforce;
- require contractors to take all reasonable steps to bring any unlawful industrial action to an end, including by pursuing legal action where possible;
- identify practices that are inconsistent with freedom of association and require contractors to adopt policies to promote the right to join or not join a union; and
- impose criteria for the establishment of project agreements on sites in line with the National Guidelines.
The new Guidelines will be monitored by a new Construction Code Compliance Unit in the Department of Treasury and Finance, headed by newly-appointed Director, Mr Nigel Hadgkiss, who has previously been the Deputy Commissioner to the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner.
The Victorian Government will lead by example in requiring appropriate workplace arrangements and practices when it selects firms for Government contracts.
Implementing these new guidelines will help the building and construction industry not only to achieve behavioural change but also to improve productivity and safety on Victorian worksites.
The guidelines can be viewed at: www.dtf.vic.gov.au/CA25713E0002EF43/pages/dtf-projects-victorian-code-of-practice-for-the-building-and-construction-industry