Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 05 Hansard (Tuesday, 8 May 2018) . . Page.. 1552 ..
around the areas of labour hire, independent contracting and the use of casual employment within the territory, are measured.
Another very important aspect of this inquiry that has not been mentioned by the chair or other members is the impact that changes to labour hire companies would have on those that seek the flexibility facilitated by reputable companies in this space. Labour hire offers a solution to both businesses and the workforce that recognises that, particularly in areas such as construction, where labour demands are driven on a project-by-project basis, it gives the ability for businesses to scale up to meet the demands of the projects that they have on hand. Labour hire also provides stability and a long-term pipeline of projects across a number of development or building contractors in the labour hire framework. It allows the flexibility and the agility that is often spoken about in the business space: to be profitable, but also competitive in our marketplace.
When we talk of labour hire, we are, in most instances, and it is where the evidence has led us, on the whole talking about reputable businesses that operate in the ACT. During the inquiry, there was no substantive evidence whatsoever that presented the need for broad-reaching and broad-ranging regulation of the industry. Currently the industry operates well within existing legislative and regulatory parameters, and it should be allowed to do so from here forward.
I note the submission from Enabled Employment. Their submission noted that temporary work and casual work are an important and effective strategy for people with a disability and other marginalised groups to enter the workforce, gain experience, make a valuable commitment, and progress to permanent employment opportunities.
We also note that the use of labour hire companies is currently a practice underway in the ACT public service, with areas such as Access Canberra utilising the services of labour hire firms as a cost-effective and efficient way to employ staff in a number of front-line areas.
As noted in the Association of Professional Staffing Companies Australia’s submission to the inquiry, the use of labour hire enhances the ability of ACT businesses to adapt their workplaces to a rapidly changing technological and economic environment and ensure that they can attract, maintain and support the skilled workers they rely on in the future. This is particularly pertinent to industries in the ACT such as IT, cybersecurity, construction and tourism, all seen as particular growth industries for employment in the territory.
It is important to note that when it comes to hiring and recruiting practices, it is about time that those on the opposite side started practising what they preach. I would like to note the submission presented by the Recruitment & Consulting Services Association that some practices are occurring in the ACT public service that may be contrary to the mantra that they operate under. Their submission states:
The ACT Government’s recent slashing of margins for on-hire firms supplying contractors to the ACT government is just one example of price-down procurement that encourages poor practices and cutting corners.