ABCC gives green light to wage theft and sham contracting

CFMEU Construction and General Division National Executive

Embarrassing Senate testimony from the ABCC reveals the construction regulator has effectively given the green light to rogue builders to engage in the sham contracting and wage theft that are epidemic to the industry, warns the CFMEU.

“The revelation at Senate Estimates that since 2016 the ABCC has recovered only $15,000 for two workers employed on sham contracts would be shocking if we didn’t already know they are a failed regulator totally unfit to police the real issues in the industry,” said Dave Noonan, CFMEU National Construction Secretary.

“Sham contracting is rampant in the industry, affecting tens of thousands of workers and costing the economy billions in lost tax revenue every year. Yet it barely registers to the ABCC who are too busy photographing union stickers on hard hats to notice the blatantly illegal behaviour happening under their noses.”

“The head of the ABCC, Stephen McBurney, also admitted in separate testimony yesterday that the regulator is telling head contractors on government jobs that they are prohibited from auditing subcontractors to make sure they are paying their workers properly.”

“This is the regulator effectively endorsing and encouraging wage theft. It tells dodgy builders they can structure their arrangements in ways to avoid scrutiny and transparency. It says the regulator will turn a blind eye to illegal and dishonest practices.”

“It is a disgraceful and shocking abrogation of responsibility and shows whose side the ABCC is on under Mr McBurney’s watch: not the workers in the industry who are owed an estimated $6 billion in unpaid wages, but the unscrupulous bosses who rip them off.”

“Construction workers and honest employers in our industry deserve much better from a regulator than the woeful efforts of the ABCC.”

“Construction is a powerful driver for the Australian economy, yet the vitality of our industry is undermined by the sham contracting, wage theft and other illegal behaviour to which the ABCC gives the green light.”

/Public Release.