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News News National insecure work inquiry hearings visit Perth

Perth workers from across white and blue collar industries will today tell the national Inquiry into Insecure
Work how outsourcing, contracting and casualisation are impacting on their livelihoods, their families and
their futures.

The inquiry into insecure work today begins its second week of hearings with a two-day visit to Perth, where
it will hear from workers and experts from the community sector who deal with the consequences of a lack
of secure work.

Among today’s witnesses will be WA Council of Social Services, who will address the impacts of insecure
work on low income and vulnerable West Australians and the inadequacy of the social security system,
along with the prevalence of insecure work within the community sector.

The Inquiry Panel member presiding at the Perth hearings, Associate Professor Sara Charlesworth, said the inquiry aimed to pursue solutions to the problem of insecure work, which now affected 40% of Australian

“A low-paying job creates enough challenges for workers trying to make ends meet, but the burden is
worsened when that job is in the form of casual employment, short-term contracts or labour hire,”
Associate Professor Charlesworth said. “It is difficult for these workers to plan for the long-term or be
confident they will even have a job into the future.”

Today’s session will also hear from the Employment Law Centre, who will speak about how to protect rights
for casual workers, while workers from the public service, trades industries and TAFE sector will explain
how insecure work impacts their lives.

Associate Professor Charlesworth said that while the growth of insecure work mirrored global trends, the
development had been more pronounced in Australia.
“Casual workers now make up almost one quarter of Australian employees, and fixed-term contracts,
independent contracting, labour hire and new forms of outwork are all growing in different industries,”
Associate Professor Charlesworth said. “Many of these jobs deny workers the reliable income, permanency,
security, and conditions and entitlements that permanent jobs offer.”

Among the issues to be considered by the panel during the inquiry are:

  • The extent of insecure work and its causes and effects;
  • The workers that are most at risk of insecure work and why;
  • The social and economic cost of insecure work; and
  • The rights and entitlements that can best assist to provide security for workers.

ACTU President Ged Kearney said job security was one of, if not the most important issues affecting the
Australian workforce right now.

The inquiry has been swamped with more than 500 submissions, which can be downloaded and the full
hearing schedule is available at The inquiry is also sitting in regional NSW and Darwin
this week and will next visit Tasmania, Victoria, South Australia and the Northern Territory. In total, hearings
will be held at 23 locations concluding in Melbourne on 22 March.

pdf ACTU Release 120220 180.79 Kb

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