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07 March 2019

Most small businesses do the right thing by their migrant workforce

In response to the release of the Migrant Workers’ Taskforce Report today, the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell said initiatives that help level the playing field for the small businesses doing the right thing by their employees are welcome.

“Many small businesses rely on a flexible workforce and most are doing the right thing; paying award wages or sometimes more,” Ms Carnell said.

“Targeting those who undercut honest small businesses should help level the playing field.

“However, we need to ensure that what is put in place doesn’t further complicate the hiring process for small businesses.

“We welcome the recommendations that strengthen the Fair Work Ombudsman’s investigative powers and the introduction of significant penalties that reflect the seriousness of the issue.

“We support the labour hire registration scheme in principle, as long as it is doesn’t add red tape and increase costs.

“The migrant workforce is important to small businesses in Australia, particularly in regional areas.

“So it’s unfortunate the behaviour of some undermines the reputation of others who play by the rules.

“We are encouraged that recommendations 15 and 16 calls on education providers to provide potential immigrants of their workplace rights before reaching Australia.

“This knowledge would empower these employees to seek out honest small business employers.”