Allegations surfaced this week that various local building and construction unions are being bribed by corrupt companies that need their support to win multimillion-dollar contracts.

Fairfax Media has reported that corruption in the construction industry involves labour hire, traffic management, scaffolding, crane and building companies, several of which are connected to organised crime figures. The investigation has identified several key figures in the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union who have allegedly taken bribes and received other benefits from the companies.

With a judicial inquiry into the Australian Workers Union already on the cards as a pre-election commitment, the Federal Government has seized on the recent revelations with Prime Minister, Tony Abbott announcing that he is seriously considering establishing a wide-ranging Royal Commission to investigate corruption in the industry. The Prime Minister also encouraged all political parties to support the re-establishment of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), with legislation currently before the Parliament.

Employers in the affected industries are encouraged to keep abreast of developments in this continuing saga, particularly in relation to the establishment of the ABCC and/or a Royal Commission, as this may have a considerable effect on the composition of the industry in the medium to long term.