ACT News


More ACT work site scrutiny with 'educational' visits

Inspectors from the federal workplace authority will be out in force on Canberra's building sites on Tuesday.

Fair Work Building Australia says its Industry Inspectors will visit Canberra building sites tomorrow as part of its Fair Work Australia Building and Construction's (FWBC) "proactive, educational service to the industry".

Canberra's construction sector has been in the spotlight for several months with an ACT government inquiry into safety in the industry finding a "distressing safety record" of four deaths and many injuries since December 2011 and making 28 recommendations for change.

The report's first recommendation is for the ACT government to collaborate with Fair Work to crack down on "sham contracting", the employment of workers on contractor's terms, on Canberra's building sites.

FWBC chief executive Leigh Johns said on Monday that the aim of the workplace visits was primarily educational, and his inspectors would be talking to building workers about workplace laws, wages and entitlement.

"We investigate and, if necessary prosecute, breaches of workplace laws, recover wages and entitlements for workers who have been underpaid, and provide education and advice." Mr Johns said yesterday.

"This week's site visits are really about our inspectors discussing with employers and workers about how to comply with workplace relations law and making sure their sites are fair and productive.

"We understand that not everyone has a lawyer or HR (human resources) manager on site to provide advice on complying with the law – so we proactively visit sites to help people understand the law and provide answers to any questions they may have."