The Federal Government has passed the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Amendment (Transition to Fair Work) Bill, bringing the abolition of the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner a step closer.


“The abolition of the ABCC will increase the risk of unlawful industrial action and coercion on building sites. Those who comply with the law have nothing to fear from the ABCC and the existing legislation," Australian Industry Group Chief Executive Designate, Innes Willox, said.


"Unless a strong, well-resourced regulator and strong legislation is maintained, the risks associated with industrial lawlessness will again be priced into construction contracts, at great cost to project owners (including Governments) and the Australian community," Mr Willox said.


The Australian Constructors Association has urged the Federal Senate to reject the latest amendments to the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Amendment (Transition to Fair Work) Bill 2011


Jim Barrett, Executive Director of the Australian Constructors Association, said that the amendments if passed in the Senate would effectively prohibit the Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate, the new industry watchdog, from continuing with a prosecution for unlawful industrial action if the matter was "settled" by the employer/s and unions.


"I don't think people yet understand the implications of these latest amendments which puts us on the track back to the dark days where coercion and intimidation were key drivers of industrial behaviour in the construction industry," Mr Barrett said.


"The amendments will no doubt greatly increase the pressure on employers to agree to "settle" court actions taken by them when faced with unlawful industrial action.


"The amendments were introduced into Parliament without consultation with industry, even though they will have a major impact upon industry.


"The Inspectorate needs to act independently in enforcing the law. This has been a key principle underpinning the success of the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner in ensuring lawful behaviour by all building industry participants.


"The Bill needs to be rejected by the Senate. The legislation will significantly increase industrial risks on construction projects and drive up construction costs," Mr Barrett said.