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Senate Select Committee on Job Security – Inquiry into job Security

In December 2020, the Senate Select Committee on Job Security was appointment by resolution of the Senate. The committee received almost 200 submissions from both individuals and organisations.

Drawing on expertise from six Salvation Army services (EPlus, Youth, Doorways, Homelessness, Moneycare, and Family Violence) The Salvation Army’s submission argues that in a post-COVID economy, Australia has an unprecedented opportunity to re-imagine work as more than an economic driver, but also as strategy to reduce inequality, improve mental and emotional health, and pave pathways out of interpersonal violence. The submission addresses the implications of rising job insecurity on Australia’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged job seekers. Providing examples of these impacts, we call on the Government to work more closely with civil society and employers to reshape the labour market so all people have the opportunity to succeed at work.

The Salvation Army recommended the following in our submission:

  1. The Australian Government should work with employers and worker representatives to identify new ways to create decent and secure work opportunities for people experiencing barriers to employment.
  2. The Australian Government should ensure the design and implementation of the New Employment Services model supports an increase in sustainable, ongoing employment outcomes for disadvantaged participants and does not create conditions which encourage casual or precarious employment models.
  3. The Australian Government should work with employers, youth service providers and youth representatives to trial new, evidence-based strategies that support disadvantaged youth obtain employment.
  4. The Australian Government should ensure casual workers and those employed in the gig and on-demand economy enjoy equal protection under labour laws as permanent employees, by
    • Amending the Fair Work Act 2008 (Cth) to ensure casual employees have a guaranteed right to arbitration where their employer refuses to convert them to permanent employment after 12 months without reasonable grounds;
    • Introducing a Commonwealth offence for deliberate, systemic wage theft that is consistent with the existing standards set in Victorian and Queensland legislation;
    • Reintroducing legislation to make advertising illegal rates of pay unlawful;
    • Acting on the recommendation made by the Black Market Economy Taskforce Final Report to “[adopt] a reporting regime for sharing or gig economy platforms [where] Operators of designated sharing (‘gig’) economy websites should be required to report payments made to their users to the ATO, DSS and other government agencies as appropriate”; and
    • Acting on the recommendation made by the Migrant Worker Taskforce Final Report to create a National Labour Hire Registration Scheme.

The Committee report

An interim report of the Committee was published in June 2021, with a final report expected in November 2021.

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