Labor-Greens government should not dismiss concerns of industry groups

ACT Labor and the Greens should not dismiss genuine concerns about the government’s proposed procurement laws, Shadow Minister for Business and Employment Andrew Wall said.

In a public committee inquiry today, industry groups including the Master Builders Association and the Canberra Business Chamber expressed concern that the government’s proposed procurement laws will drive up costs on infrastructure and services.

“The laws presented in the Assembly in August were referred to a committee for scrutiny after a big push from me and my Canberra Liberal colleagues,” Mr Wall said.

“We fought for more scrutiny because of the controversial nature through which these laws came about and because many industry groups had limited opportunity to provide genuine feedback.

“These laws are part of a deal struck between the Labor-Greens government and the unions before the 2016 election.

“They are aimed at tightening the grip that unions already have over who can bid for government work. Ultimately, these laws will give unions legal control over the ACT government’s purchasing power. This will undoubtedly bring more red tape and additional costs for businesses already under the pump.

“We know that the unions have put significant political pressure on Industrial Relations Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith, labelling the Minister a ‘partner in crime’ for failing to push through these laws according to the unions’ timeline.

“I urge Ms Stephen-Smith, her Labor colleagues and the Greens to put their political agenda aside and give careful consideration to how these laws will impact thousands of local businesses.

“If the government dismisses industry peak bodies, what hope do small, local family businesses have?” Mr Wall concluded.