Swan as new Cbus chairman an ‘insult to workers’: CFMEU

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 2 : 8-Sep-21

The Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining & Energy Union has described the appointment of former Labor minister Wayne Swan as chairman of industry superannuation fund Cbus as the "height of hypocrisy". The CFMMEU says the appointment is an "insult to construction workers", given Swan’s role in maintaining the building industry watchdog during his tenure as federal treasurer and deputy prime minister. The union has also suggested that there is a conflict of interests due to Swan’s role as Labor’s national president.

CORPORATES
CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MARITIME, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA, CONSTRUCTION AND BUILDING UNIONS’ SUPERANNUATION FUND

Grocon on brink of administration

Original article by Ben Wilmot
The Australian – Page: 13 & 14 : 23-Nov-20

Troubled construction company Grocon was said to be in talks over the weekend of 21-22 November about the appointment of administrators, although no move has yet been made. Grocon has been involved in a number of disputes in recent times, including with Infrastructure New South Wales, against which Grocon has launched a $270 million legal action. Grocon head Daniel Grollo recently said that its creditors would be "first in line" to be paid if it wins its action against Infrastructure NSW. Grocon’s latest problems relate to a project in Melbourne, where it is said that sub-contractors are owed around $8 million. Grocon is building a tower for Impact Investment under a fixed-price contract, and claims that it has not been paid by Impact since May.

CORPORATES
GROCON PTY LTD, INFRASTRUCTURE NEW SOUTH WALES, IMPACT INVESTMENT GROUP PTY LTD

Construction down by $5b over two years

Original article by Michael Bleby
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 39 : 5-Nov-20

The Australian Construction Industry Forum has forecast that construction activity will fall by 3.2 per cent in 2020-21 due to the impact of COVID-19. Construction work in the accommodation sector is tipped to fall by 34 per cent, while a 23 per cent decline in entertainment and recreation projects is expected. However, the ACIF expects an increase in construction work in the industrial property, health and aged-care sectors. Activity in the residential construction sector is expected to remain subdued for several years, but growth in home renovations is forecast.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY FORUM

Watchdog probes sabotage claims at Probuild, Watpac

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 10 : 28-Oct-20

The Australian Building & Construction Commission has informed a Senate estimates hearing that it is investigating work stoppages at building sites in Sydney. The New South Wales branch of the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining & Energy Union has cited safety issues as the reason for the industrial action that has targeted Probuild and Watpac. The safety blitz has coincided with the CFMMEU’s push to get the two companies to sign a new enterprise agreement. The proposed pay deal includes annual pay rises of five per cent and revised arrangements for rostered days off.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION COMMISSION, CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MARITIME, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA, PROBUILD PTY LTD, WATPAC LIMITED

Virus slowdown: call to waive penalty rates

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 7 : 9-Jul-20

The Master Builders Association and the Housing Industry Association want the Fair Work Commission to make temporary changes to the construction industry award in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining & Energy Union opposes any move to vary the award so construction workers do not receive penalty rates for working outside their regular hours. Richard Crookes Constructions is among the building firms that have expressed support for temporary changes to the award.

CORPORATES
MASTER BUILDERS AUSTRALIA INCORPORATED, HOUSING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION LIMITED, CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MARITIME, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION, RICHARD CROOKES CONSTRUCTIONS PTY LTD

Council brakes slow recovery

Original article by Rebecca Urban, Damon Johnston
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 11-Jun-20

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says local councils should fast-track development applications in order to stimulate economic activity in the post-coronavirus world. He says the state and federal governments are helping to boost the construction sector, and local governments should do so as well. It takes an average of 70 days for development applications to be approved in Victoria – well above the statutory requirement of 60 days – and this had blown out to at least 120 days for some councils prior to the pandemic. The average number of days to approve a development application in New South Wales is 84 days.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY

Near $1bn boost for building kicks off targeted stimulus

Original article by Geoff Chambers
The Australian – Page: 1 & 2 : 3-Jun-20

The federal government is expected to release details of its coronavirus stimulus package for the construction industry on 4 June. It is tipped to include cash grants of between $20,000 and $50,000 for people buying a new home, in order to avert a decline in construction activity towards the end of 2020. The government is also expected to provide cash grants for home renovations. A stimulus package for the arts and entertainment is also said to be on the government’s agenda.

CORPORATES

CFMEU slugged $486k for blockade

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 2 : 3-Mar-20

The Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining & Energy Union has been fined $404,500 for organising an unlawful blockade at the Barangaroo project in Sydney. The Federal Circuit has also ordered five current and former union officials to pay fines ranging from $7,500 to $22,500. The industrial action was aimed at forcing concreting firm De Martin & Gasparini to sign an enterprise agreement. The CFMMEU and its officials have now been fined $9.62m in total since the Australian Building & Construction Commission was reinstated in 2016.

CORPORATES
CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MARITIME, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA, FEDERAL CIRCUIT COURT OF AUSTRALIA, DE MARTIN AND GASPARINI PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION COMMISSION

Home building hopes turn positive

Original article by Michael Bleby
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 29 : 16-Jan-20

The latest quarterly survey of the construction sector by the ANZ Bank and the Property Council of Australia suggests that building activity in the residential market will improve in the second half of 2020. The index of expectations for housing construction over the next 12 months has risen by 14.6 points in the survey for the March 2020 quarter; it is the largest quarterly gain since the three months to December 2013. PCA CEO Ken Morrison says the latest survey indicates that housing affordability will continue to be a key issue in 2020.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, PROPERTY COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA LIMITED

Construction the drag on productivity

Original article by David Marin-Guzman, Matthew Cranston
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 6 : 4-Dec-19

The Reserve Bank of Australia’s analysis shows that the construction sector was the biggest contributor to the decline in the nation’s labour productivity in 2018-19. The central bank’s Statement on Monetary Policy notes that this may be due to construction firms retaining idled workers in the hope that the residential development sector will rebound. However, the RBA’s analysis could weaken the CFMMEU’s recent proposal for annual pay rises of five per cent for New South Wales building workers.

CORPORATES
RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MARITIME, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA, MASTER BUILDERS AUSTRALIA INCORPORATED, AUSTRALIAN BUREAU OF STATISTICS