Construction companies are entitled to claim compensation for the time spent on projects they are contracted to do, but only if they have been involved in more than one construction project in a 12-month period.
However, if they are not involved in any construction work, contractors cannot claim compensation.
The issue of contractors’ compensation has been on the agenda at the federal level for some time, but the Federal Government has been hesitant to move forward with it.
A new bill introduced by the Federal Opposition would allow contractors to claim their compensation if they had completed construction work for more than 12 months, which would mean the cost of their construction work would have been recovered from the company.
“The Government has always wanted to make sure that contractors are getting compensation when their work is completed,” Mr Baird said.
In the meantime, Mr Baird has also announced that the Government will be releasing a new draft code of conduct that will be made public at a later date.
Labor has opposed the bill, calling it a “draconian tax”.
“This is yet another example of Labor not standing up for the Australian workforce,” Labor’s housing spokesperson Jenny Macklin said.
“It will hurt construction companies, it will hurt small business, it won’t help those Australians who are struggling to survive on a low wage.”
Labor also called on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the issue of construction workers’ compensation, and also called for an independent review into whether the Federal Parliament should pass legislation to introduce the new code of practice.
“This Government has a history of prioritising contractors’ profits above Australian workers’ wellbeing, so it is clear that this Government does not care about Australians’ rights,” Labor leader Andrew Leigh said.
“It is a slap in the face to the Australian community.”