Media Release - Local Building Businesses Need A Government Which Backs Them

Posted 11 September 2020

Media Release - Local Building Businesses Need A Government Which Backs Them

Master Builders ACT is calling on the next ACT Government to implement policies which support local building businesses to create local jobs and remove bureaucratic barriers which make it hard for small businesses to compete when tendering for work from the ACT Government.

Master Builders ACT CEO Michael Hopkins said, “Red tape, regulatory burdens and new laws introduced over the past four years have made it harder and more costly to conduct business with our own Government.”

“The MBA is calling on the next ACT Government to implement policies which back local building businesses so that the economic benefit remains in the Territory,” he said.

Mr Hopkins said, “Our calls to Government come as the International ratings agency Standard & Poor’s has today confirmed the MBA’s concerns about the ACT Government’s capacity to deliver infrastructure confirm, predicting it will fail to deliver about 20 per cent of the plan.”

“The introduction of the Secure Local Jobs Code in 2019 has led to a 26% reduction in construction companies being eligible to tender for ACT Government contracts,” he said.

Mr Hopkins said, “Amendments to the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Laws have led to delays commencing projects and added cost with no safety benefit.”

“Currently, construction contracts with the ACT Government unfairly burden small companies with heavy financial risks by requiring them to carry large financial guarantees, delaying the payment of invoices, and waiting months for the release of completion payments,” he said.

Mr Hopkins said, “The bureaucratic and inefficient tendering processes also impact the broader community and taxpayers as building schools, hospitals and public infrastructure becomes more costly.”  

“In the current economic downturn, our local businesses simply cannot afford to carry unnecessary costs,” he said.

Mr Hopkins said, “Local construction businesses are not requesting special treatment, just a level playing field. The current tendering rules, especially clauses 14, 15 and 16 of the Secure Local Jobs Code, favour union-friendly companies.”

“Our policies seek support from the ACT Government to make it easier for ACT building companies to conduct business with the ACT Government and without interference from the Union,” he said.

Mr Hopkins said, “Master Builders is calling on the next ACT Government to streamline the Government Tender Process and remove the barriers to being pre-qualified for these tenders by amending clauses 14, 15 and 16 of the Secure Local Jobs Code.”

“When awarding Government Tenders, ACT businesses should be prioritised throughout the building supply chain which includes builders, subcontractors, suppliers and consultants. This is the only way to ensure that the ACT economy receives the full financial benefits from these projects,” he said.  

Authorised by Michael Hopkins on behalf of Master Builders Association of the ACT.

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