Media Release

14 June 2018

The Fair Work Ombudsman has discovered hundreds of businesses in the mid-north coast and mid-western regions of NSW have failed to pay their workers correctly. The results of the audit of more than 600 businesses, again highlights the need for stronger State laws targeting wage theft.

Fair Work inspectors assessed the wages records of 626 businesses across towns including Port Macquarie and Taree in the mid-north coast and Coonabarabran, Dubbo, Gloucester, Gunnedah, Moree, Narrabri and Wellington in the mid-western region.

In the mid-north coast region, 96 businesses were not paying their employees correctly and in the mid-western region, 107 businesses were not paying their employees correctly.

A total of $431,792 was back-paid to 629 workers in the regions.

It’s prompted NSW Labor to once again call for new wage theft laws to be aimed at employers who are getting away with flagrant abuses of the rights and entitlements of workers.

NSW Labor has committed to implementing stronger deterrents, as current penalties are not tough enough.

Labor has a five point plan to eliminate the exploitation of vulnerable workers and crack down on businesses that underpay their staff. It is as follows:

  • A new wage theft law to criminalise the deliberate failure to pay wages and entitlements;
  • New laws to hold head franchisors accountable for the actions of franchisees;
  • Widened powers for workplace inspectors to undertake wage audits;
  • A licensing scheme for labour hire companies, forcing them to comply with labour laws and ensuring they provide safe, fair and reasonable work conditions; and
  • New laws to protect Sunday penalty rates in all state awards and agreements.


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

“It’s clear that the systematic exploitation of workers continues to impact employees all around the State.

“We need stronger laws and better enforcement, because there are still a number of unscrupulous employers that aren’t getting the message.

“NSW Labor will deliver a new wage theft law to criminalise the deliberate failure to pay wages and other entitlements.”