Media Release

30 August 2019

During Budget Estimates today, the Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council and Minister for the Public Service and Employee Relations, the Hon. Don Harwin MLC, said the Berejiklian Government had no plans to tackle instances of wage theft.

Mr Harwin indicated that workers in the private sector were in the Federal system of industrial relations and the Berejiklian Government had no plans to expand the coverage of the State IR system.

This was in response to questions about allegations made against the company that operates the iconic Hydro Majestic Hotel in the Blue Mountains and other venues in NSW. Those claims include systematic and widespread underpayment and non-payment of wages, overcharging for accommodation, and other exploitative measures against workers from overseas.

NSW Labor has proposed making wage theft a crime and a range of other measures to protect young and other vulnerable workers in this State.

Labor’s Leader in the Legislative Council and Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations, Adam Searle MLC said: “NSW Labor thinks all workers should be paid fairly and have safe workplaces. It shouldn’t matter if you are working in the NSW public sector or in the private sector.”

“If the Federal system, including its watchdog, are not taking action to look after workers, the NSW Government can and should act to stamp out wage theft and other kinds of exploitation that are clearly taking place across our workplaces” — Adam Searle MLC, Labor Leader in the Legislative Council and Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations

“The Minister’s response is just not good enough,” he said.

“This is why NSW Labor has long proposed new laws to tackle wage theft, and a series of other measures to look after workers in NSW – filling gaps not met by the national IR system.”