SA Power Networks under Hadgkiss’ Building Code
On the 15th of February this year, Michaelia Cash gave express assurances to the Australian Senate that Essential Services would be exempted from the ABCC’s Building Code. These assurances have now been broken.
To remind our political representatives of this CEPU National Secretary Allen Hicks recently sent the following letter, Hansard excerpt and correspondence from Nigel Hadgkiss to SA Power Networks dated 19 May 2017.
By email: Senator.Kakoschke-Moore@aph.gov.au
RE: SA Power Networks under Hadgkiss’s Building Code
On the 15th of February this year, Michaelia Cash gave express assurances to the Australian Senate that Essential Services would be exempted from the ABCC’s Building Code. These assurances have now been broken. I enclose:
- page 1095 of the Hansard dated the 15th of February, 2017.
- Correspondence from Nigel Hadgkiss to SA Power Networks dated 19 May 2017.
On the 15th of February this year, Senator Cash stood in Australian Senate and expressly stated that the ABC Commissioner would exempt a building contractor or a building industry participant providing essential services
relating to, inter alia, the supply of electricity. You will recall that this debate arose expressly in the context of enterprise bargaining at SA Power Networks, which had initially refused to even attempt to be exempted from
As per the second enclosure, the Union, is now in receipt of the decision of Mr Nigel Hadgkiss, ABC Commissioner, in which he refuses to exempt approximately 25% of the SAPN workforce, namely it’s so called CaMS Business. The CaMS business is responsible for key infrastructure in South Australia, including:
- the maintenance of high voltage transmission network for
ElectraNet – including the repair of transmission towers following
- the rollout of the National Broadband Network; and
- the extension of the electricity grid to new property developments.
Incomprehensibly, Mr Hadgkiss has deemed that these are building work but not essential services.
This matter is of extreme concern to the Union.
Prior to the last federal election statements were consistently made by the government to the effect that the Code would only apply to the building and construction industry. There was at no time any assertion that the Code would apply in the electrical power or communications industries. This extension of the Code is nothing more than legislation by stealth, with the Federal Government effectively tricking Senators into reintroducing Work Choices.
Applying the Code to SA Power Networks directly threatens the employment security of over two thousand good, solid jobs in South Australia. The Code strips away long held rights and will permit the industry to be flooded with cheap labour in a race to the bottom. In choosing this course, the ABCC has jeopardised the harmonious and cooperative arrangements that have long existed in the South Australian power industry. Indeed, the Code will see employees of precisely the same nature being subject to different legal obligations to the extent that some workers will be, to all intents and purposes, discriminated against. As anyone with any experience in workplace relations knows, this is a recipe for disaster.
As a Senator for South Australia whose organisation (the Nick Xenophon Team) had received assurances in relation to these matters. The assurances now lie in tatters. I would welcome the opportunity to speak with you further and explain to you our assertions and concerns. My office will contact you shortly to arrange a mutually convenient time and location to discuss these matters.
Read the letter and the Hansard excerpt and correspondence from Nigel Hadgkiss here.