The final report for the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption was released at the end of December 2015, concluding the inquiry almost two years after it began in March 2014.
Over the course of 21 months, more than 500 witnesses presented evidence relating to allegations of bribery, extortion and blackmail within Australia’s construction industry.
The Royal Commission’s final report included 79 recommendations to improve the governance of registered organisations and management of construction sites, as well as to increase union transparency and accountability.
The Royal Commission also made 93 referrals for proceedings relating to possible breaches of laws – with more than 50 per cent said to relate to potential criminal prosecutions – and recommended stronger legislative reform to improve transparency and accountability in registered organisations.
A ‘pathway of reform’
Upon the report’s release, Boral CEO and managing director Mike Kane commented, “Today’s report provides a clear pathway of reform so that in future, organisations illegally targeted can get immediate assistance from government to halt conduct designed to financially punish law-abiding businesses who get in the way of the illegal designs of rogue unions like the CFMEU’s construction division.”
As previously reported by Quarry, Boral reached a settlement agreement with the CFMEU in September 2015 after suing the union for more than $20 million in damages due to an alleged “black ban”.
Kane brought the issue of trade union corruption to the quarry industry’s attention at the 2014 Construction Materials Industry Conference. He later told Quarry in an interview that quarries would be indirectly affected by the reduced construction site productivity resulting from unlawful union activity, as well as the associated fall in Australia’s international competitiveness.
Referring to the Royal Commission’s final report, Kane said, “Boral continues to support the re-introduction of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) as the first step needed to restore the rule of law on construction sites. We also welcome the reform agenda offered through the Royal Commission report as necessary remedies to deal with a blight on the construction industry that is eroding global confidence in Australian construction markets.”
The ABCC was the construction industry regulator that was abolished and replaced by Fair Work Building and Construction in 2012.
The Federal Government said in a statement that it would “carefully consider all of the Royal Commission’s recommendations” and that it aimed to pass legislation to re-establish the ABCC in Parliament before the end of March this year.
“The final report of the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption has found there is a ‘widespread’ and ‘deep-seated’ culture of lawlessness among many union officials,” the statement read. “This corrupt and illegal conduct will not stop unless there is immediate and effective Parliamentary intervention, meaningful reform and strong leadership.”
It was said the Federal Government would release a detailed response to the Royal Commission’s recommendations in early 2016.
The final report can be viewed on the Royal Commission’s website.
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