The fate of the ABCC is the subject of daily news coverage. In
short, Construction industry employers cannot rely on the ongoing
existence of a construction watchdog with all of the same powers as
were wielded by the ABCC.
The ALP government proposes to establish a Specialist Division
within its planned "IR one stop shop", Fair Work
Australia, to take over the ABCC's functions from 1 February
2010. The role and powers of the ABCC are currently the subject of
a review by former Federal Court Judge, Murray Wilcox QC. His final
report is due to be released in March 2009.
The terms of reference for this report were set by Minister
Gillard on 24 July 2008 and include:
Operational structure and the Specialist Division's
relationship with other parts of Fair Work Australia
The independence and accountability of the Specialist
External monitoring, review or oversight of the Specialist
Scope of investigations and compliance activities to be
undertaken by the Specialist Division
Responsibilities of the officers of the Specialist
Resolution of disputes and complaints about the activities of
the Specialist Division
Commencement of proceedings by the Specialist Division,
Interaction of the Specialist Division with other federal
In the wake of recent comments by Justice Spender concerning the
"even-handedness" in the recent case of Lovewell v
O'Carroll, PGEU Qld Branch and CEPU, there has also been
debate about whether the ABCC's operations should be reviewed
by an external authority.
The ALP has so far resisted protests from unions demanding the
abolition of the ABCC and it is likely that the ABCC will retain
many of its powers in its new iteration as a Specialist Division
within the Inspectorate of Fair Work Australia. However, it is
likely that some coercive powers may be removed or significantly
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The Council announced planning policies to encourage more inner suburban retirement village and aged care development.
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