• Media Release

Amendments make IR Bill worse, not better

The Albanese Government has failed its public promise to exclude service contractors from its so-called Closing Loopholes Bill, leaving tens of thousands of Australian businesses exposed to complex workplace changes that will increase costs, stifle investment and ramp up the price of consumer goods.

Any claims that service contractors have been excluded from Same Job, Same Pay are entirely false and misleading.

An exhaustive list of amendments stapled to the bill and rushed into parliament today, create more headaches for businesses and employees, and will further threaten the Australian economy and wages.

Any concessions businesses received from the government are crumbs, compared to the giant cake plonked on the union table.

Far from simplifying or clarifying, the extensive set of amendments only increases complexity and ambiguity.

And rather than narrowing the intended focus, the amendments actually broaden the reach of Same Job, Same Pay, targeting even more businesses and more employees.

Unions will have even broader powers to seek Fair Work Commission orders to capture businesses in Same Job, Same Pay.

The onus will still be on those businesses – often small to medium-sized – to litigate their way out.

And even then, it is still up to the discretion of the Fair Work Commission to determine whether they are captured or not. The Commission will be making determinations based on ambiguous and subjective factors that are open to interpretation and argument, leaving businesses that rely on certainty in the dark.

In addition to its failure to exclude service contractors, the government has extended the reach of Same Job, Same Pay to joint ventures, giving unions a backdoor to major projects, without even targeting the main partners.

This expansion not only locks in the capture of the mining sector, it extends into large-scale oil and gas projects at a time when Australia needs greater energy security.

The amendments also make it easier for unions to rope in multiple employers into one application to the Commission, rather than make separate applications.

In reality, these amendments will mean that Same Job, Same Pay will go even further than the government’s original Bill. This is just one more blow for resources states like Western Australia and Queensland, and one more blow for Australian businesses and workers.