Federal Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon joined with workers and their representatives today to call out the Morrison Government for ‘savage cuts’ at the Newcastle ATO.
Ms Claydon said twenty per cent of jobs have gone from the Newcastle ATO since 2013.
“The Government says it wants to get more workers into the regions, but they’ve cut 150 jobs from the Newcastle ATO since they came to power,” Ms Claydon said.
“People are retiring and they’re not being replaced, and workers are under increasing pressure. I worry that this may just be the start.”
Ms Claydon also identified at ‘exploitative labour hire practices’ as a key problem.
“The Government is brazenly disregarding the pay rates and conditions enshrined in employment agreements by filling vacancies with temporary labour hire workers,” Ms Claydon said.
“This is exploitation, pure and simple. Labour hire workers are expected to perform the same duties as their colleagues for less pay and none of the workplace rights like sick leave and holiday pay.”
Ms Claydon said the Federal Government’s cap on staff hiring was forcing many agencies to turn to expensive labour hire companies for workers.
“Analysis of the AusTender website shows the Liberals have more than tripled labour hire spending, from $307 million in 2013-14 to more than $1.1billion in 2017-18,” Ms Claydon said.
“The taxpayer is paying more, but workers are getting less because of labour hire fees. The only winners here are labour hire companies’ bottom lines. It’s an absolute outrage.”
Ms Claydon said Labor would make it illegal for labour hire companies to drive down pay and conditions for temporary workers.
“Labor believes if you do the same job, you shouldn’t be paid any less. We will legislate to ensure that workers hired through a labour hire company get the same pay and conditions as people employed directly,” Ms Claydon said.
“Labor will also abolish the Liberals’ arbitrary staffing cap and give agencies the freedom to set their own staffing levels based on what they need and their overall operational budgets.”
Ms Claydon said wages, job security and working conditions would be key battlegrounds for the upcoming election.
“At the moment, too many Australian workers are subject to unfair labour hire practices, and treated like second class citizens with lower wages, substandard conditions and little security,” Ms Claydon said.
“While the Government has admitted to low wages being a ‘design feature’ of its industrial relations, Labor has led the way on policy to deliver decent jobs, higher wages and secure work.”