Master Builders Australia has today published its submission to the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations ‘Same Job, Same Pay’ consultation paper.
“Master Builders does not support the policy and we emphasise there is no evidence to support these changes, especially in building and construction,” said Master Builders Australia Acting CEO Shaun Schmitke.
“The Government’s own consultation paper clearly opens the door to capture the building and construction industry and goes much further than the circumstances anecdotally referenced by Minister Burke to justify its need.
“There is a real risk the changes will apply to independent and subcontracting in building and construction which is a long-standing, legitimate and lawful engagement used both here and overseas for over 100 years.
“If this happens it will hurt small business, stifle productivity, drive down wages and drive up the cost of construction.
“It makes no sense that you have to pay two tradies working on a construction site the same amount even if one has just started and the other has worked in the industry for decades.
“This acts as a disincentive for businesses to take on younger workers and hesitation to provide wage increases for more experienced workers.
“We don’t use subcontracting because we’re trying to drive down wages or avoid employing people. We use subcontracting because that’s the way that building work is performed.
“Australians and businesses are doing it tough at the moment. Why are we proposing even more red tape for business that will ultimately end up hurting workers?
“We should be addressing the productivity challenges in the sector not bulldozing the industry.
“Policy settings should always be about fairness, reward effort, and experience. Not a blanket approach that fails to understand that all workplaces are unique and worker ambition and values, varied.
“Amidst rising interest rates, slowing economic growth, and low productivity, the Government is tying the hands of the essential businesses and industries relied upon to steer the nation clear of a recession.
“There must be clear and strong exclusions for service contracts, genuine subcontracting and group training arrangements.
“Group training arrangements is a common practice within the industry and a crucial element for new entrants to obtain necessary worksite experience to become qualified,” Mr Schmitke said.
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