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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 16 September 2021) . . Page.. 2684 ..


Crime—wage theft(Question No 365)

Ms Castley asked the Minister for Business and Better Regulation, upon notice, on 6 August 2021 (redirected to the Minister for Industrial Relations and Workplace Safety):

(1) Who is the responsible minister for issues about wage theft disputes in the ACT.

(2) Can the Minister provide, for each year since 2016, reported wage thefts in the ACT.

(3) Are there unreported wage thefts and can the Minister provide any information in relation to this.

(4) Has the Minister investigated the issue of unreported wage thefts and can the Minister provide any figures.

(5) Is the actual wage theft figure higher; if so, how much higher.

(6) Why are some wage thefts not reported or recorded.

(7) What is the Government doing to reduce wage theft in the ACT.

(8) What success has the Government had in reducing wage theft.

(9) How much funding does the Government provide for initiatives to reduce wage theft.

(10) Will the Government make wage theft a criminal offence under ACT legislation; if so, what progress has been made; if not, can the Minister explain why not.

Mr Gentleman: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:

In answer to questions 1 to 6 and 10:

The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) is the primary source of employment rights, conditions and entitlements for workers in the Territory. As such, matters relating to the underpayment of workers falls within the Commonwealth Government’s jurisdiction.

The Federal Fair Work Amendment (Supporting Australia’s Jobs and Economic Recovery) Bill 2021 (Cth) contained amendments to criminalise the underpayment of wages in certain circumstances when it was introduced in December 2020. Those provisions were removed from the Bill that was passed by the Federal Parliament in March 2021. Details of the Federal Amendment Bill can be sourced from the Federal Parliament of Australia website and Federal Register of Legislation website.

Compliance with the FW Act is administered by the Fair Work Ombudsman. Outcomes of compliance and enforcement activities conducted by the FWO can be sourced from www.fairwork.gov.au.

Since October 2020, the ACT Magistrates Court has been able to hear certain matters within the FW Act small claims jurisdiction, which may include matters relating to the


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