Under Best Practice Industry Conditions (BPIC) procurement guidelines, you can earn $200,000 per year once having completed two days of training as a stop/go traffic controller on a civil site under policies that are operating or under consideration.

That’s more than double the salary of most registered nurses, police officers, and teachers. As an added bonus, civil labourers receive a full month off work each year in rostered days off, on top of their usual holidays and flexitime.

Plus, when the government needs them to work an extra 50km down the road, civil labourers receive an extra $1000 per week in their pocket.  If it rains there are double time allowances and an “orderly cessation of work” is to occur when the temperature on site reaches 35C, or 29C with at least 75 per cent humidity.

Whilst this may seem far fetched it’s not, with Queensland taxpayers covering the bill and conditions above. Western Australia have these type of procurement guidelines under consideration. 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. ACT Government is starting to discuss its own version also. Whilst intended to be voluntary, as reflected these costs become the wage floor that become the price of doing business.

Queensland’s 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 from traffic controllers up 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 a national Queensland-style BPIC Construction Tax in the past week. By ruling out a BPIC-style Construction Tax at a national level, the Prime Minister has demonstrated the Commonwealth’s commitment to fostering a competitive and sustainable construction industry. The Commonwealth Government should be commended for listening to the industry, but it will still inadvertently fund this tax when it provides Federal partnership investment in states that adopt these guidelines.

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. CCF across the country and nationally, will be pushing for these ‘guidelines’ to be justified/reconsidered and will keep you up to date on our efforts to hold Government here in Canberra to account and seek the guidelines to be scrapped or at least more measured and equitable.