The ACT Secure Local Jobs Package was legislated by the ACT Labor government in 2018 and the Secure Local Jobs Code commenced on 15 January 2019.
The Code ensures that lucrative ACT Govt contracts (tenders) are only awarded to decent employers who obey the law, pay their taxes, prioritise local secure employment, and don’t commit wage-theft against their workers.
This creates a level playing field, so that small local businesses who do the right thing can compete with larger national companies, and don’t get undercut by companies who break the law.
What does the Code do?
The Secure Local Jobs Code means that:
- Contractors seeking to tender for ACT Government jobs must adhere to minimum wages (e.g. the Award or enterprise agreement) and other workplace standards, and be independently audited;
- Local workers have access to good jobs, with a decent income, and access to representation by their union;
- Workplace safety standards are kept high; and
- Every contractor is held to the same standard, ensuring that decent local businesses aren’t undercut by dodgy out-of-down contracts or big businesses.
Everyone knows that good companies, who treat workers properly and have safe workplaces produce better quality services. Reputable, decent employers should be rewarded, and dodgy contracts who break the rules should not.
Why unions support the Secure Local Jobs Code
For too long, dodgy businesses have been able to get away with breaking the law, underpaying workers and putting them at risk of serious injury.
The ACT Government contracts out hundreds of millions of dollars each year to the private sector, and for decades, unions have raised concerns about unscrupulous contractors undercutting decent local businesses by exploiting workers, putting them at risk of injury, or stealing wages and superannuation.
Until now, the ACT Government hasn’t had its own laws to ensure it only contracted to ethical companies. That’s why over the past few years, we’ve seen examples of dodgy companies winning ACT Government contracts, then stealing wages from their workers or breaking workplace safety laws.
The new Secure Local Jobs Package, and the Code means that now dodgy companies with ACT Government contracts can’t get away with breaking the law!
The new laws and Code were promised by ACT Labor before the 2016 election, and were a major part of the Labor government’s election platform.
- UnionsACT’s media release welcoming the Secure Local Jobs Package
- UnionsACT’s Submission into the Secure Local Jobs Package Assembly Inquiry
- UnionsACT Secretary Alex White’s statement on the Secure Local Jobs Package
What about criticism of the Code?
You may hear a lot about the new Secure Local Jobs Code, especially from critics of it. Already the Liberal party (both Federally and in the ACT) have attacked it, as have some business lobby groups. Their criticisms are predictable and self-serving.
- Conservatives politicians and big business claim that costs of contracts will increase. However, the new laws principally require that contractors simply adhere to existing workplace laws, which contractors should be following already.
- They claim that local businesses will be priced out. However, the new laws actually create a level playing field, so that big business can’t undercut local companies.
The simple fact is that the only contractors who should be upset about the new proposed Secure Local Jobs Code are contractors who make their profits by breaking workplace laws (and the Liberal party politicians who support them).
Frequently Asked Questions
The Code covers the following industries
The Certificate is the main document that certifies that a company behaves ethically towards its employees and follows important laws, including taxation, superannuation, anti-discrimination and work safety laws.
Certificates are gained after the company is audited by an independent auditor.
Companies need a Certificate in order to tender for ACT Government contracts.