The Australian Industrial Relations Commission
(AIRC) has been tasked by the ALP Government to
create "modern awards" in a tight timeframe. The
Commission has been given the impossible task of seeking to ensure
employees are no worse off and employers incur no greater cost by
the imposition of a new modern award. The building and construction
industry is to be examined in Stage 2 of the process, which is
being considered now.
The Master Builders of Australia (MBA) have
submitted that "the building and construction industry would
be best served by having three Awards that cover On-Site
construction, the Civil sector and an Off-Site Award".
The MBA's proposed scope of coverage provisions for a new
civil construction award is extracted below:
Scope of coverage clause for civil construction industry
Civil Construction Industry Award
1.1 Employers and employees
This modern award applies to:
1.1.1 Employers who are engaged in the civil sector of the
building and construction industry concerning work by their
employees in or in connection with civil construction work in a
classification in this modern Award; and
1.1.2 Their employees engaged in a classification in this modern
award whilst they are performing work in or in connection with the
civil construction industry.
1.2 Definition of the civil construction industry
For the purposes of this Award civil construction industry work
means the undertaking of building work that is any of the following
any operation that is part of, or is preparatory to, or is for
rendering complete onsite building and construction industry
building work as set out in the On-site Building and Construction
Industry Award, including:
site clearance, earth-moving, excavation, tunnelling and
site restoration, landscaping and the provision of roadways and
other access works.
The construction, alteration, repair and maintenance of
railways, tramways, roads, freeways, causeways, aerodromes, power
stations, civil engineering works, drains, dams, weirs, bridges,
overpasses, underpass, channels, waterworks, pipe tracks, tunnels,
water and sewerage works, conduits, and all concrete work and work
preparatory to this work.
Land clearing and preparation
For the avoidance of doubt and in addition to the prior scope
provisions, where the parties to a construction contract agree that
work is of the nature of civil construction work this award shall
apply to the exclusion of any other award. Construction contract
means any contract that is for building work as defined in the
Building and Construction Industry Improvement Act, 2005 exclusive
of s 5(1)(g).
1.3 Matters not covered
This modern award does not apply to:
1.3.1 employers and employees to whom an enterprise award
1.3.2 work that has historically not been regulated by awards
including but not limited to project and site management
1.3.3 high income earners, that is persons earning in excess of
1.3.4 employers in respect of their operations or activities in
the following industries or occupations:
clerical or administrative; and
1.3.5 employers in respect of their operations or activities to
which the modern award for the building and construction industry
On-site Building and Industry Construction Industry Award or the
Off-site Building Industry Award applies.
The question of what are appropriate modern awards for the
industry will be the subject of two days of consultation on 1 and 2
December 2008. We will keep you informed of further developments
relating to Stage 2 of the award modernisation process. Exposure
drafts of the awards are due to be released in early February
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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