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BPIC: 200,000 reasons teachers, nurses and police should stop and go traffic controlling

17 Apr 2024 9:53 AM | Zacharie Nichols-Lang (Administrator)

CCF’s National office takes aim at BPIC

By Nicholas Proud

Best Practice Industrial Conditions (BPIC) policies act as a construction tax, directly resulting in increased costs on major infrastructure projects by as much as 20%, says CCF National CEO Nicholas Proud. Read more…

Under Queensland’s Best Practice Industrial Conditions (BPIC) procurement rules, semi-skilled construction workers can earn $200,000 per year for a 50-hour work week.

That's more than double the salary of most registered nurses, police officers, and teachers. As an added bonus, workers receive a full month off work each year in rostered days off. Plus, when the government needs them to work an extra 50km down the road, they receive an extra $1000 per week. If it rains there are double time allowances and an “orderly cessation of work” is to occur when the temperature on site reaches 35 degrees, or 29 degrees if humidity is higher than 75 per cent.

Whilst this may seem farfetched, it isn’t. Queensland taxpayers are now covering the bill for the conditions listed above. Western Australia is currently considering the implementation of similar, though not quite as extreme (yet) rules. In Victoria, the Allen Labor Government has a Fair Jobs Code to vet businesses for adverse workplace rulings and enforceable undertakings if they seek Government contracts. The ACT Government is starting to discuss its own version also.

BPIC acts as a Construction Tax, directly resulting in increased costs on major infrastructure projects right across the State by as much as 20%, with the taxpayer having to pick up the tab. It is just not sustainable to have a base rate of $200,000 for every single person, including traffic controllers, on a construction site. These conditions are a massive disincentive to every other profession across the economy. Why would you study to be a nurse, police officer, or open a business when you can take a two-day course and turn up to a worksite for more than double the average salary of $92,000?

Quite simply, it is out of touch.

In the strongest demonstration of common-sense, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has ruled out BPIC on Federal projects – but it will still inadvertently fund this tax when it provides Federal partnership investment in states that adopt BPIC.

Rather than create stability there is an inequity that most would surely agree doesn’t pass the pub test. Actually, BPIC wouldn’t make it past the stop/go controller on the road or bridge that simply wouldn’t be built under the conditions imposed by the changes. CCF across the country and nationally, will be pushing for these policies to be justified/reconsidered. We will keep you up to date on our efforts to hold Government here in Canberra to account and seek for the guidelines to be scrapped, or at least more measured and equitable.

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