THE GOVERNMENT and crossbench must not abandon the almost 400,000 small businesses and sub-contractors in the building and construction industry.
That is the warning from Master Builders Australia’s CEO Denita Wawn, who said that it is now "more crucial than ever that it be made clear that the small businesses and subbies aren't going to be left to the mercy of bullying and thuggery displayed by some organisations and their officials".
"There are more small businesses in the building and construction industry than any other sector of the economy, and 99 percent of illegal bullying and thuggery committed by some unions and their officials happens to our members,” MsWawn said.
"We've been inundated with calls this morning, particularly from small subbies, to express their fears in light of the Senate's decision.
"They are telling us what everyone knows - building unions will spin the outcome as being given a green light to continue their tactics of bullying and intimidation,” Ms Wawn said.
"They are worried that a bad situation will now get far worse and are asking - who will stick up for us? Master Builders thanks to the Senators who voted to support the Bill, particularly those from South Australia.
"We've made it very clear to all our South Australian members that Centre Alliance and Senator Bernardi did the right thing and backed them in the vote,” Ms Wawn said.
"We applaud Senators Patrick and Griff from Centre Alliance, and Independent Senator Cory Bernardi, for taking such a considered and constructive approach to the Ensuring Integrity Bill.
"These Senators, particularly Senator Rex Patrick, have listened and recognised there is a problem. We congratulate them for doing the right thing by South Australian small businesses by saying ‘yes’ to small business and ‘no’ to bullying,” she said.
"It is crucial for Government to now let the industry know that they won't be abandoned. We want the Government to bring this Bill back to the Parliament as a matter of urgency, to show they remain committed to finding a solution to a problem that is obvious to everyone.
"Almost everyone who spoke during the Ensuring Integrity Bill debate acknowledged there is a problem and we want them to work towards finding a solution," Ms Wawn said.