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Coercive powers must go from ABCC: Greens

The Australian Greens today reiterated their opposition to the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), following the release of a Senate Inquiry report into the Government's Bill amending the BCII Act.

"The Greens remain committed to the principle that there should be one law for all workers and that building and construction workers should not be singled out for more punitive treatment," said Australian Greens industrial relations spokesperson Senator Rachel Siewert.

"The cultural change that is needed in the building and construction industry is much broader and requires more than merely a concerted attack on the legitimate role of building unions."

"With the Fair Work Act now containing the substantive rights and obligations for all workers, the logical step is for all breaches of those laws to be dealt with by the Fair Work Ombudsman without a separate compliance agency for one section of the workforce."

"The Australian Greens remain utterly opposed to the existence of the coercive powers in relation to investigating breaches of industrial law," said Senator Siewert.

"The Greens are calling on the Government to withdraw the Bill and abolish the ABCC while maintaining the role of the Federal Safety Commissioner. At the very least, the threat of imprisonment in relation to the coercive powers must be removed and replaced with a penalty fine system."

"The BCII Act is an affront to our democracy and in our view the amendments in the Bill do not ultimately change that position. This Parliament has a duty to ensure that the building industry is regulated just like any other industry - in a fair and just manner that balances the needs of productivity and the economy with the health, safety and democratic rights of workers," she concluded.

For more information or media enquiries please call Tim Norton on 0418 401 180

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