UnionsACT statement on procurement MOU

UnionsACT notes with disappoint the misleading statements by Minister Michaelia Cash, Liberal Senator Zed Seselja and Canberra Liberal leader Jeremy Hanson regarding the memorandum of understanding on procurement.

A fact sheet regarding the MOU is here.

The memorandum of understanding of understanding was first agreed in 2005. It has been subject to parliamentary questioning and inquiries numerous times over the past eleven years.

The MOU ensures that the ACT government consults with unions on important workplace safety and workplace rights matters.

It creates no new rights for unions, and it expressly states that ‘statutory decision making responsibility rests exclusively with the Minister.’

There is no right of union ‘veto’.

The MOU ensures that procurement includes fair consideration of existing rights under the Fair Work Act, Workplace Health & Safety Act, the Workers Compensation Act and the Superannuation Guarantee Act amongst others.

Over the years, this MOU has been largely responsible for the ACT Government putting in place a rigorous regime of pre-qualification scrutiny and safeguards that ensure that reputable employers do not miss out on work to non-compliant contractors.

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

“Unions are proud that over eleven years, the workplace safety and workplace rights of government contractors have been protected and improved because of this MOU.

“The safe workplaces, the strong workplace rights and the secure jobs of employees working for ACT Government contractors is due to longstanding cooperative agreements like this.

“Everything in the MOU is consistent with existing Commonwealth or Territory laws.

“Jeremy Hanson and Michaelia Cash should be specific about their concerns. Their vague and misleading statements do a grave disservice to the important roles they hold.

“Which workplace rights and what workplace safety that workers currently have do Mr Hanson and Ms Cash object to?

“What rights do Mr Hanson and Ms Cash want to remove from employees of ACT Government contractors?

“This longstanding MOU has been subject to years of questioning and inquiries by the Liberal party, including shadow treasurer Brendan Smyth in 2009.

“The workplace safety and workplace rights of thousands of employees of ACT government contractors should not be the victim of an ideological and political anti-union crusade by the hard-right wing faction of the Liberal party.”