• Employers must advertise locally and prove they have made a genuine effort to find Australian workers
• More resources need to be put into training and apprenticeships
• The Government needs to increase penalties against companies and migration agents that abuse the system
• The CFMEU supports appropriate skilled migration through permanent migration schemes which do not bind workers to individual employers.
Update on 457 Visa System (as at 23.10.15)
The full reporting date has been extended to 11 February 2016. The committee has tabled an interim report which looks at the evidence presented on a range of temporary visa programs including the student, WHM, and 457 visa programs. Issues raised included impacts on the Australian labour market; impacts on training and skills development in Australia; exploitation of vulnerable migrant workers; non-compliance by employers with workplace laws; and gaps in the regulatory system. There are no recommendations as of yet. The CFMEU gave evidence at the Sydney hearing in July.
• Unsecured creditors, such as smaller subcontractors (and their employees), usually bear the brunt of corporate insolvencies. In 2013-14, the chance of an unsecured creditor receiving nothing from an insolvent company in the industry was almost 92%.
• Corporate insolvency in the Australian construction industry is not simply a matter of poor business practices. It is a major area of unlawful and unethical behaviour and has been for many years.
• One in five insolvencies happen within the construction industry in Australia.
Union pushes for changes in legislation
♦ Stronger sanctions
→ ASIC and the ASIO to be better resourced to deal with this
♦ The MBA is saying that there is no problem, it is all working fine. The problem is the CFMEU.
And a strong, nationally coordinated response from the Government is urgently needed.
Update on Insolvencies in the Construction Industry (as at 23.10.15)
There are two more public hearings to go – Perth on the 26th Oct at which C&G will be addressing the committee regarding the lack of level playing field regarding costs, and many companies avoiding super, compo and payroll tax payments due to lack of government oversight, leading to undercutting, insolvencies and phoenixing. Another hearing will be held in Canberra on 4th November and the report is due by 3 December 2015.
• Lack of standards and personal freedoms in accommodation camps.
• Punishing rosters leading to fatigue, family breakdown and mental illness
• Decline of population, economic activity and social amenity in regional communities
• Lack of investment in training
• Discrimination against local workers in regional areas
• Impacts of the rapid growth of long-distance commuting and compulsory FIFO, including:
♦ 140 submissions from CFMEU.
• The economic impact of non-conforming building products on the Australian building and construction industry;
• The impact of non-conforming building products on:
♦ Industry supply chains, including importers, manufacturers and fabricators,
• Workplace safety and any associated risks,
• Costs passed on to customers, including any insurance and compliance costs; and
• The overall quality of Australian buildings
• Imported building products' impact on safety and jobs.
• Submission is currently underway.
• Building products and how they relate to the China FTA.
• A mandatory system for compliance for products coming into Australia.
• Economy and trade;
• Domestic labour market testing obligations and laws regarding wages, conditions and entitlements of Australian workers and temporary work visa holders;
• Investment; and
• Social, cultural and environmental policies.
• The adequacy of Australia’s current laws;
• Any need for greater transparency to deter tax avoidance and provide assurance that all companies are complying fully with Australia’s tax laws;
• The broader economic impacts of this behaviour, beyond the direct effect on government revenue;
• The opportunities to collaborate internationally and/or act unilaterally to address the problem;
• The performance and capability of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to investigate and launch litigation, in the wake of drastic budget cuts to staffing numbers;
• The role and performance of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission in working with corporations and supporting the ATO to protect public revenue;
• Any relevant recommendations or issues arising from the Government’s White Paper process on the ‘Reform of Australia’s Tax System’; and
• Any other related matters.