Media Release

21 June 2018

The NSW Labor Opposition has slammed the Berejiklian Government’s second Budget for failing to making any provision to tackling wage theft.

Last year, Labor outlined a comprehensive package to outlaw the exploitation of workers, the majority of whom are young and have recently entered the workforce.

Labor’s plan will see:

  • A new wage theft law to criminalise deliberate failure to pay wages and entitlements;
  • New laws to hold head franchisors accountable for the actions of franchisees;
  • Widened powers of workplace inspectors to undertake wage audits;
  • A licensing scheme for labor hire companies to force compliance with existing labour laws; and
  • New laws to protect Sunday penalty rates in all state awards and agreements.

In addition, Labor’s plan will:

  • Require businesses to publicly display minimum wages rates paid to staff with their business registration where patrons and public can see;
  • Place businesses found to have breached the law on a public “name and shame” register, and make them ineligible to participate in future contracts with the NSW Government; and
  • Ensure disputes and other issues regarding apprenticeships and vocational training which are regulated by State law can be heard in the Industrial Relations Commission.

Since Labor’s announcement, there have been a series of further instances in workplaces across the State that reinforce the need for wage theft laws and concerted government action to eliminate exploitation of young and other vulnerable workers.

Despite this clear evidence, in this week’s Budget[1] the Berejiklian Government failed workers in NSW by not including any initiatives to tackle the scourge of wage theft.

Quotes attributable to Labor Leader in the Legislative Council and Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations, Adam Searle MLC:

“Everyone should be paid fairly and legally for the work they perform. What we have seen here in NSW is the widespread abuse of some of the most vulnerable workers – young people who are the future of our community.

“The Berejiklian Government should be acting to protect young and other vulnerable workers. Instead it is more interested in spending billions on its stadiums spending splurge.

“Only NSW Labor has a positive plan to combat this abuse.”


[1] Budget Estimates 2018-2019, Budget Paper No. 3, p10-5