Media Release

6 September 2017

The NSW Industrial Relations Minister has today refused to commit to new and improved protections for young workers, aimed at preventing exploitation and wage theft in the State.

Despite the clear and extensive evidence of the exploitation of young workers in NSW – particularly in the Illawarra – Minister Dominic Perrottet would not commit to protecting workers in Budget Estimates today.

This is even though the Fair Work Act clearly leaves child labour laws to the States.

NSW Labor has a comprehensive plan to eliminate the exploitation of vulnerable employees through wage theft.

A NSW Labor Government would 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;
· New laws to protect Sunday penalty rates in all state awards and agreements;
· 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.

Labor’s comprehensive package will outlaw the exploitation of workers, the majority of whom are young and have recently entered the workforce.

Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations Adam Searle:

“The Minister has let young workers down today.

“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.

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