Liberals Risked Breaches of Fair Work Laws, Ombudsman Finds

04 March 2015

A Fair Work Ombudsman inquiry has revealed employment practices under the previous Liberal Government risked breaching federal workplace laws.

The Ombudsman investigation found “a connection” between the Liberals’ so-called Sustainable Government Initiative and practices which risked breaching the Fair Work Act.

The Ombudsman found that the way the then Department of State Development and Business Innovation had engaged with independent contractors while implementing the Liberal Government’s cuts, meant it was potentially at risk of not complying with workplace laws and failing to pay the correct entitlements.

Additionally, the Department was found to have failed to act on previous recommendations on its procurement of labour by the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office.

Minister for Industrial Relations, Natalie Hutchins, said the findings reflected the previous Government's disdainful approach to the public service and fair pay and conditions.

The Liberals cut over 4000 public sector jobs and then spent nearly $1 billion in taxpayers’ money on outsourced employment.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has asked the Department to conduct an urgent review of its internal policies and processes and report back within six months.

Ms Hutchins said the Department will review its labour engagement policies, thoroughly audit the engagement of independent contractors and ensure employees receive the correct entitlements.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Industrial Relations, Natalie Hutchins

"No wonder the previous Liberal Government couldn't ensure a fair go for Victorian workers - they couldn't even guarantee a fair go for their own employees."

"The Liberals cut over 4000 public sector jobs and created a workplace culture where workers felt like they couldn't speak up."

"The Andrews Labor Government understands that every employee deserves to feel safe and respected.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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