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Stephen McBurney to head Australian Building and Construction Commission

A new head of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) has been appointed to replace Nigel Hadgkiss who resigned in September after admitting he contravened the Fair Work Act.

Hadgkiss resigned a day after telling the then Employment Minister Michaelia Cash he had breached fair work laws between January 2014 and July 2016, misrepresenting union rights on ABCC posters and in handbooks.

He had been relying on assurances from his minister that a piece of the previous government’s legislation would be repealed, and was caught short after things did not transpire that way.

The Turnbull government has now chosen a veteran AFL umpire to take on one of Australia’s most difficult industrial relations jobs, policing the construction and building industry.

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Workplace Minister Craig Laundy announced on Friday that Stephen McBurney would be the new Commissioner.

McBurney will begin a five-year term as Commissioner from 6 February.

He served as an Assistant Commissioner (legal) for the ABCC from 2006 to 2008 and spent the last nine years investigating organised crime for the Victorian Office of Chief Examiner.

McBurney took the top job as Chief Examiner in October 2015.

Laundy announced McBurney had been chosen through “a merit-based selection process”.

“In addition to his outstanding legal career, Mr McBurney was one of the AFL’s most ­experienced and highly regarded umpires, one of four umpires to reach the 400-game milestone,” Laundy said.

“The building industry is a vital sector of Australia’s economy, employing more than one million
Australians.

“The ABCC plays a critical role in maintaining the rule of law and promoting improved
workplace relations to ensure building work is carried out fairly, productively and for the benefit
of all.”

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