Independent contractors Bill leaves workers ‘on their own’, says Labor

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Independent contractors Bill leaves workers ‘on their own’, says Labor

The ALP has attacked the Federal Government’s Independent Contractors Bill, saying it has one message for Australian workers: ‘You’re on your own now’.

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The ALP has attacked the Federal Government’s Independent Contractors Bill, saying it has one message for Australian workers: ‘You’re on your own now’.

Opposition IR spokesman Stephen Smith told a press conference today that the legislation is ‘detrimental to Australian employees and to contractors generally and small business generally’.

‘The legislation will enable genuine employees to be pushed out of the employer-employee relationship, to be treated as independent contractors, reducing their entitlements, their conditions and their protections,’ he said.

‘But it also places on them the burdens that normally fall on an employer - the burdens of superannuation, taxation arrangements and worker’s compensation.'

Removes protections

‘Secondly, for those small businesses people or contractors that are in a dependent contract position, owner drivers in the transport industry for example, it takes away many of the state based protections.

‘It takes away access to unfair contract laws, access to a range of state jurisdictions which have employee deeming provisions to ensure that small business and contractors are protected.

‘It’s another example of the Government’s across the board approach in industrial relations - hacking away at conditions, entitlements and protections. And overriding State jurisdictions where in this area there are any number of decent and sensible protective measures for the protection of employees and for the protection of small business generally.’

Sham contracts

In a statement Smith said Labor supports Australians who genuinely want to start their own business.

However he said as a result of these laws, genuine employees will be pushed out of the employer-employee relationship and into sham independent contracting arrangements.

‘The Government’s so-called protections against sham contracting arrangements are just that - a sham,’ he said.

Debate on the legislation began in Parliament this morning. Labor attempted to condemn it by moving an amendment to the motion for the second reading of the Bill.

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