Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Govt supports cost shifting to taxpayers.

Download PDFDownload PDF

Australian Democrats Press Releases

Senator Andrew Murray Democrats Senator for Western Australia Australian Democrats spokesperson for Workplace Relations

Dated: 30 November 2006 Press Release Number: kbilzexx Portfolio: Workplace Relations

More from Senator Andrew Murray on Workplace Relations

GOVT Supports Cost Shifting to Taxpayers

The Government today opposed a Democrat second reading amendment* calling on the government to investigate cost shifting from private to public that will result from the Independent Contractors Bill. The Minister basically said that it was acceptable for future tax payers to pay out hundreds of millions of dollars more when employees become contractors," said Australian Democrats Workplace Relations Spokesperson Senator Andrew Murray. The Minister, the Hon Senator Abetz, essentially argued it was up to the individual and not the Government to decide what protection they should have, if any. The Government's attitude is confused and hypocritical. A key Government focus is to shift people off Government funded pensions and into self funded retirement, and yet this contractors' policy does the reverse. The Democrats strongly support the right of Australians to determine whether they want to be in business for themselves, or to work for someone else as an employee. However, we believe that someone who is in business for themselves also has a duty to meet the universal obligations that are imposed on employers in the public interest. The Independent Contractors Bill will inevitably result in an increase in contracting but does nothing to require contractors to provide for their own superannuation, workers compensation, income insurance and the like. Cost shifting of this sort may well involve hundreds of millions of dollars shifted to the taxpayer. The government is negligent in failing to close this cost-shifting hole," concluded Senator Murray.

*At the end of the motion, add and the Senate: (a) notes that this Bill does not require contractors to provide for their superannuation payments, workers compensation, and for income insurance, normally mandated to be covered by an employer; (b) calls on the Government to investigate the issue of cost shifting from private to public as a result of shifts in labour markets away from employment relationships to contractual relationships, where the absence of a mandatory requirement for superannuation payments, for workers compensation, and for income insurance to be covered results in a significant new and long-term burden on taxpayers; (c) calls on the Government to report to the Parliament within the next 12 months outlining what solutions it proposes to this problem.