“Protect, Promote, Provide”

From the Desk of the Executive Director

Ken Phillips is co-founder and Executive Director of Independent Contractors of Australia. He is a published authority on independent contractor issues and directs research on related commercial and trade practices issues. Through his numerous articles in newspapers and think-tank and academic journals, Ken is known for approaching issues from outside normal perspectives and is frequently sought out for media comment.

At last a fair deal for hard-working subbies

Saturday, December 10, 2016

In the commercial construction sector the people who always get it in the neck are the small subcontractors — the subbies — the people who actually do the real work on the ground.

This newspaper, The West Australian, has run a long and deserved campaign demanding action. But where’s the State Government response?

Well, finally, we have seen some action. More...


The government’s misstep on the Heydon corruption report is a gift for Labor

Monday, January 04, 2016

The Turnbull government’s response to the Heydon Royal Commission Report into union corruption sets the scene for policy and political failure. It has responded just as the union movement and Labor hoped they would.

Further, Labor and the unions have already started their process of a slow and steady ‘kill’ of the Coalition on the issue. They have a surprisingly high chance of success. For the government, my perspective is probably a counterintuitive unsettling of their obvious glee over the Heydon report. More...


Victoria is no longer the place to be for business

Monday, April 20, 2015

The events of last week in Victoria where the government is spending $600 million to $1bn to not build a vital road link isn't just a colossal trashing of taxpayers’ money, but something much more.

It should be seen by anyone who wants to invest, develop or do business large or small in Victoria as a signal of the state’s unprecedented environment of risk. This is because the usual rule-book of commercial activity has been dumped and replaced with new rules in which business is exclusively reliant on political favour. It is a risk environment of third-world proportions. More...


Victoria's building union crackdown reaches the next level

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

In a significant development the Victorian government this week imposed the first sanction against a construction firm for breach of the Victorian Construction Code.

McConnell Dowell Contractors is no minnow in the construction game. It reports around $3.5 billion in construction works on its books at any one time, operating in Australia, New Zealand and Asia. It is a major builder of infrastructure, currently building, for example, large-scale water supply tunneling in Brisbane and the Gold Coast Light Rail. More...


An open letter to Boral’s Mike Kane

Friday, July 11, 2014

Mike,

I’ve just read your letter of July 7 to the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption.

Congratulations on your strong determination to stand up to attempts by the construction union, the CFMEU, to put Boral out of business. As you state, you are being targeted by the CFMEU because you continue to supply concrete to the CFMEU’s hated construction firm, Grocon.  More...


How Abbott is rebuilding the construction landscape

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

There are plenty of naïve people at the big end of town who haven’t yet realised the extent to which the Abbott government is changing the landscape of business in Australia.

The first dramatic signals came early this year when the government announced the end of corporate welfare. This had substance, with the rejection of taxpayer bailouts to Holden, Toyota, Coca Cola’s subsidiary SPC Ardmona and Qantas. The message to corporations was straightforward: grow up and stop your dependency on taxpayers! More...


Unions can't paint over a construction revolution

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The militant construction union the CFMEU has announced 'we've won', in its battle to stop the Victorian government's construction code. But closer attention shows the CFMEU's victory declaration is spin.

The code is designed to give the Victorian government control over its infrastructure construction costs. It's been put in place because blowouts in construction costs threaten the viability of the government's infrastructure budget. The code simply states that if a construction firm has bad, unproductive industrial relations agreements the firm need not bother to tender for government work. More...



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