The Air Conditioning and Mechanical Contractors’ Association (AMCA) has partnered with Melbourne University on a research project to investigate contract and procurement issues plaguing the industry.

Other industry groups contributing to the project include the National Fire Industry Association, Society of Construction Law Australia, Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors and the Australasian Procurement and Construction Council.

“We hope that this research will provide insights into how we can improve construction procurement in Australia, and maximise the potential benefits of standard form contracts and minimising their deficiencies,” AMCA said in a statement.

“The results will assist in our advocacy efforts regarding this critical issue, and AMCA members may also find this information useful when engaging in future contractual negotiations.”

Last year AMCA provided a submission to the Federal Government’s review into Unfair Contract Terms (UCT).

The government has announced the commencement of a new round of public consultation on options to further enhance UCT protections.

Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator Michaelia Cash, said the consultation will explore options to strengthen the existing protections for small businesses from unfair terms in standard form contracts.

“Small businesses often lack the resources to identify unfair terms and to engage in negotiations over those terms. By strengthening the UCT protections, small businesses will get a fairer go,” Cash said.

Assistant Treasurer, Michael Sukkar, said the consultation will seek feedback on a range of options, including making UCTs illegal, attaching penalties for breaches, and broadening the coverage of small business contracts.

“The changes have already improved protections for small business in some industry sectors, however, there is concern that UCTs are still being used in standard form contracts, highlighting the need for stronger deterrents to be built into the protections,” Sukkar said.

“The consultation also seeks views on whether any enhanced protections for small business contracts should also be extended to consumer and insurance contracts, to ensure consistency in the operation of the protections.”

AMCA met with representatives for both Ministers to ensure protections would be accessible to small businesses operating in the building and construction industry.

Submissions close on March 16, 2020. 

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