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Jobs and Skills Summit: Forum set up for male-dominated construction sector

A national construction industry forum will be established seeking to overhaul the male-dominated and high-stress culture of the sector.

Consultation will also immediately begin on a raft of changes to the Fair Work Act – including to remove “unnecessary limitations” on multi-employer bargaining and stripping back the prescriptive requirements of the better off overall test.

The pair of initiatives were the key short-term outcomes of a two-hour session focusing on industrial relations at the Albanese Government’s Jobs and Skills Summit.

Multiple delegates – including Australian Constructors Association CEO Jon Davies and Electrical Trades Union secretary Mike Wright – spoke of the need for sweeping reforming on the nation’s building sites.

Mr Davies said construction firms operated “on the slimmest of margins” and accounted for a quarter of all business insolvencies, contributing to the fact tradies were six times more likely to die by suicide than from a workplace accident.

“We also need to address the other issues that are slowly killing our industry,” Mr Davies said.

“Of critical importance is the need to improve the culture of our industry. It’s simply not good enough.

“Women make up only 12 per cent of our workforce, and that number dwindles to single digits when we’re talking about trades.”

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