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Katter votes to protect employees and contractors entitlements when businesses fold

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25 October 2018

Katter votes to protect employees and contractors entitlements when businesses fold

KAP Leader and Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter delivered a fiery speech in the Parliament on the Corporations Amendment (Strengthening Protections for Employee Entitlements) Bill 2018 which will safeguard employee entitlements in the situation where the practices of a director and/or company lead to foreclosure, receivership or liquidation.

Mr Katter has long been a voice calling for stronger legislative protection for contractors left out of pocket and cited the Kagara Zinc and the Qld Nicol Refinery cases as two recent examples in Kennedy where employees, contractors and subcontractors have been hung out to dry financially.

In his speech, Mr Katter threw his support behind an amendment which provided further employee security and would see up to 13 weeks of superannuation guarantee contributions, to offset claimable unpaid wages.

Mr Katter said, “We are talking here about protecting superannuation, and I support the amendment here and will vote for it. The thousands of workers in the Kennedy electorate that have not got paid—those standards remind them of the incompetence of several successive state and federal governments.

“If ever there was a trail of destruction in this country—and I don't wish to have a go at Clive Palmer, because I have no idea of the rights and wrongs of this case or how he was involved. All I know is that the company that owned the nickel plant did not pay workers and they did not pay suppliers. Hundreds of millions of dollars was not paid. That was a big case.

“I can go into case after case. I remember one case in Mount Isa 20 years ago which was worth $3.5 million dollars. It was the third time the company had gone broke. When I say the company had gone broke, the principal of the company hadn't gone broke at all—he was as rich as Croesus—but, of course, he never paid anyone in Mount Isa.

“In this case, most of those jobs were from government grants money. The government, before they pay the contractor, surely has a responsibility to ensure that the subbies have been paid. This is hardly an onerous obligation to say: 'Before I write you a cheque for a million bucks, mate, I want the names of all of your subbies—it's a criminal act not to give them to me—and I want a statement from them that they have been fully paid.' It is a very simple device. Four governments in a row came in in Queensland and said, 'We're going to address this problem.' But it is still not addressed.

“Our superannuation is simply not secure. The wise people that ran Australia for 120 years in this place said 60 per cent of that money goes into securities. So you can't play games with it—your stock market games

and your property games. You can't play games with it, like Goldman Sachs and Enron and these people did in the United States. We're going to see that it's rock-solid—it's in government securities.”


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