Unions welcome Local Jobs Package

Unions in Canberra today welcome the start of stakeholder consultations for the Secure Local Jobs Package, said UnionsACT.

The package was a key election commitment made in 2016 to ensure the ACT Government only procured goods and services from safe, ethical companies.

The proposed package will ensure that companies contracting with the ACT Government must follow workplace health and safety laws, and the Fair Work Act, and that the highest ethical labour standards are followed.

It will improve the rights for workers to access representation and support. This will reduce sham-contracting and abuse of visa workers.

The package will also expand and improve the longstanding IRE certificate system to all procurement contracts, and allow for real-time monitoring of contractual requirements over the life of a contract.

Improving safety standards and Fair Work Act compliance will benefit the employees of contractors, and will have strong flow-on benefits to the local community by promoting secure job creation.

Recent Fair Work Ombudsman reports have shown widespread non-compliance with Fair Work laws, with up to 40 percent of businesses breaking workplace laws, including millions in stolen wages and unpaid superannuation. The ACT is also the second least-safe jurisdiction in which to work, with more than 3000 serious injuries in Canberra workplaces each year.

The following quotes are attributable to Alex White, secretary of UnionsACT:

“The proposed Secure Local Jobs Package is strongly welcomed by Canberra’s union movement.

“It is a strong signal that the Labor Government and the Minister are committed to using their purchasing power to improve workplace safety standards and ensure compliance with the Fair Work Act.

“The truth is that forty percent of businesses in the ACT do not comply with their legal obligations under workplace laws.

“Many of these non-compliant companies are existing contractors with the ACT Government or bid for ACT contracts. Current laws do not allow the ACT Government to easily ensure companies comply with their obligations.

“This consultation is an important part of improving workplace standards and safety, and UnionsACT is committed to working with the Minister to ensure ACT Government contracts go to decent local businesses that treat workers’ safety as a priority.”