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Closing Loopholes Bill inquiry ready to begin

The Senate inquiry into the Federal Government’s Closing Loopholes Bill is set to begin today, with the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) ready to represent majors BHP and Rio Tinto.

The Closing Loopholes Bill is in response to the proposed Same Job, Same Pay Bill which will require employers to pay labour hire workers the same rate as direct employees doing the same job.

The four major elements of the Closing Loopholes Bill are:

  • criminalising wage theft
  • introducing minimum standards for workers in the gig economy
  • closing the forced permanent casual worker loophole
  • closing the labour hire loophole.

The Senate hearing into the 284-page Bill will begin today, October 3.

According to the Australian Financial Review (AFR), MCA chief executive officer Tania Constable will warn that many small local businesses may become unviable if the Bill is introduced.

“The inevitable result over time is that businesses will reduce their risk by reverting to enterprise agreements that offer simplistic ‘one size fits all’ pay and remuneration structures,” the MCA’s inquiry submission said.

“This will mean that employees ultimately are worse off and will lose access to bonuses and other terms that are too difficult to replicate under a ‘same job, same pay’ regime.

“Given that labour hire and service contractors are often engaged in urgent or time critical circumstances – for instance, due to maintenance issues, a safety incident or where employees are absent – this will be entirely impractical.”

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