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chief executive of the Master Builders Association, Wilhelm Harnisch, has
stepped down after 15 years in the position.
Harnisch's resignation comes as the Turnbull government successfully restored
the Australian Building and Construction Commission and implemented a strict new building code for
federal projects late last year.
always been my intention to have that [the ABCC and the code] as one of my
signatory achievements and it's always been my intention to leave when that was
achieved," Mr Harnisch told the The Australian Financial
He denied there was anything "untoward" in his resignation,
saying that "it's been 26 years, it's time to move on".
Mr Harnisch has been with the peak employer group since 1991 when he was
employed as chief economist after working as a policy adviser and economic
forecaster in the Commonwealth public service. He was later promoted to deputy
CEO before taking on the top role in 2002.
For the past ten years, Mr Harnisch has been pushing for the
return of the ABCC, which he said was necessary to curb the militancy of the
Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union and bring down construction
MBA national president Dan Perkins said "Wilhelm has been a
tireless advocate for the building and construction industry and his longevity
as CEO is testament to his success".
"His hallmark as CEO has been his passion for the industry, his
bi-partisan approach and highly disciplined evidence based advocacy."
Mr Harnisch's leadership
has not been without controversy, however, with some builders in Victoria
recently objecting that the organisation had developed an "unhealthy
closeness" to the Liberal Party at the expense of members'
departs as builders are preparing for a volatile industrial
relations environment over the next year, with the CFMEU demanding additional
pay increases and threatening stoppages over
a sharply reduced deadline for compliance with the code.
It is understood the MBA board has been searching for a new CEO since
August last year, including external and internal candidates, and is set to
announce a replacement in the coming weeks.
Mr Harnish will continue as CEO until a new one is selected. He declined
to comment on his future plans, saying "watch this space".
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