Skip to content
Building Construction, Employment Relations

Industrial relations changes risk bulldozing tradies

Master Builders Australia 2 mins read

22 May 2023


The freedom of choice for tradies to be their own boss is under threat, with the Federal Government proposing to force independent contractors to give up their business to become an employee, says Master Builders Australia CEO Denita Wawn.


Master Builders Australia has today released its response to the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations discussion paper on ‘Employee like’ forms of work and stronger protections for independent contractors.


Master Builders Australia vehemently opposes the 'employee-like' policy and urges the Government to restrict its scope solely to gig workers, as purportedly intended.


“The proposed ‘employee-like’ policy goes beyond the Government’s purported original scope of supporting gig workers and leaves the door open to swallow industries across the economy. This includes well-established forms of work, including independent contractors and self-employed tradies,” Ms Wawn said.


“The building and construction industry is made up of around 440,000 businesses, with over 264,000 of them being independent contractors, representing one in five workers.


“For decades, the industry has attracted individuals who choose to go out and be their own boss and have the freedom to choose the hours they work, the projects they work on, who they work for and negotiate their own fees and conditions.


“If the policy is implemented as foreshadowed in this paper, it will fundamentally upend and damage the entire building and construction industry which is founded on a model of specialist contract work arising from the way in which building work is performed.


“The dynamic nature and array of specialist contractors required on a project mean it is simply not feasible for businesses to have to permanently employ independent contractors, and critically, it takes away the rights of independent contractors to run their own business.


“The ‘employee-like’ measure represents one of the most significant and real attacks on the rights of self-employed and independent contractors.


“The proposed changes pose a serious threat, introducing uncertainty, commercial risk, and negative consequences for the community, consumers, and an industry already grappling with disruptions, economic uncertainty, and high inflation.


“Master Builders Australia strongly urges the Federal Government to explicitly exclude the building and construction industry from their employee-like industrial law changes to protect the sector's integrity and the rights of independent contractors,” said Ms Wawn.


Read our submission


Media contact: Dee Zegarac, National Director, Media & Public Affairs

0400 493 071 |


More from this category

  • Employment Relations, Industrial Relations
  • 07/12/2023
  • 12:36
Wage Inspectorate Victoria

Port Fairy bakery fined $5000 for repeated child employment breaches

A Port Fairy bakery has been fined $5000 in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court after repeatedly breaching child employment laws, which help keep kids under 15 safe in the workplace. Wage Inspectorate Victoria, the state’s child employment regulator, filed charges against the operators of Cobb’s Bakery in November 2022 alleging breaches of child employment laws, having investigated an anonymous tip-off it received. Just weeks after the charges were served, the Wage Inspectorate received 2 more tip-offs, including from a former employee of the bakery, alleging Cobb’s Bakery was continuing to breach the law by employing kids under 15 without permits. Following…

  • Building Construction
  • 07/12/2023
  • 11:42
Master Builders Australia

Government delivers tradies a Christmas blow

7 December 2023 Attributable to Master Builders Australia CEO Denita Wawn: In what is starting to feel like Groundhog Day for bad Government process, the Government with the support of some crossbench Senators have decided to ram through aspects of its damaging IR ‘Closing Loopholes’ Bill. Any remaining trust between the business community and the Albanese Government has today been eroded. It is disappointing that Senators David Pocock and Jacqui Lambie did not consult with the industry on any potential amendments before doing this deal. The unions are today celebrating their Christmas gift while tradies and Australians who are grappling…

  • Contains:
  • Building Construction, Union
  • 06/12/2023
  • 15:53

Major property and construction firms back engineered stone ban

Australia's biggest property and construction companies will ban engineered stone from new developments as part of a landmark agreement with the construction union. The CFMEU's Stop This Killer Stonecampaign now has the support of major companies including Lendlease Australia, John Holland, Mirvac and CBUS Property, retailers like Bunnings, IKEA and Mitre10, and the vast majority of state governments. A Safe Work Australia report recommended a total ban of engineered stone because compliance measures haven't been effective to date. CFMEU National Secretary Zach Smith congratulated the companies for backing the ban. "Some of the biggest property players in Australia are taking…

Media Outreach made fast, easy, simple.

Feature your press release on Medianet's News Hub every time your distribute with Medianet. Pay per release or save with a subscription.