• Media Release

Government IR amendments hoodwink Australians

Reports the Albanese Government may further amend the elements of the Closing the Loopholes legislation relating to service contractors appear to fall desperately short of a workable solution.

Any amendment that does not include a complete removal of service contractors from being exposed to “same job same pay”, and a proper definition of “labour hire” would merely be tinkering at the edges, and an attempt to hoodwink the parliament and the public.

A simple and effective approach is to have a clear and straightforward definition of a service contractor that would exclude them from the “same job same pay” elements of the wider Closing Loopholes Bill.

The Bill currently includes a complex and confusing 12-point multi-factor test as to what is “fair and responsible” to determine how contractors will be treated by the legislation.

From the outset, all service contractors are captured unless they can litigate their way out via the multi-factor test, with the Bill stacking the odds against them.

Tinkering with the test doesn’t alter the fact that all service contractors will still be captured till they can litigate their way out, at great cost to themselves.

Amendments to the multi-factor test are not a credible solution. More litigation is not the solution to the problem.

The government proposed amendments offer nothing for service contractors in a range of industries across the economy who will not be able to litigate their way out. For example small sub contractors on building sites, IT services providers and a range of specialist onsite service providers, including cleaners and catering contractors.

Unfortunately, this is the modus operandi for Minister for Workplace Relations Tony Burke. Find a soft target, get them to support your amendments sight unseen and then portray the problem as solved.

No one should be fooled by such tactics.

The only genuine amendment required is one that defines what is – and isn’t – “labour hire” and makes it clear that service contractors (businesses engaged to provide a service rather than workers) are clearly not “labour hire”.

This is the only way contractors can avoid being trapped in Fair Work Commission litigation through union applications to rope them into “same job same pay” orders.