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Andrews’ new Victorian Fair Jobs Code a blow to small business and jobs

Victorian small businesses will face extra red tape and additional costs following the stealthy introducing of the Victorian Fair Jobs Code by the Andrews Labor Government.

This Victorian Fair Jobs Code is clearly aimed at forcing businesses into a choice between cooperating with unions or missing out on government work entirely.

The Buying for Victoria website states that:

“The fair jobs code will be a condition of tendering for government work.”

And further,

“All suppliers seeking to be considered for high value procurement contracts, and businesses applying for significant business expansion grants, must also submit a Fair Jobs Code Plan (FJC Plan) to the contracting Victorian Government agency, as part of procurement or grant processes conducted by the agency.”

The Fair Jobs Code Plan requires businesses to describe how they will move staff to full time employment and represents a gross overreach by the Victorian government dictating how a business should structure its workforce. This is not the role of a democratic government.

The policy also directly discriminates against women – who represent a high proportion of all part time and casual staff.

The red tape alone that this mandatory code will generate will be an increased burden for businesses operating in Victoria. The Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s recent report states that starting a business in Victoria requires operators to navigate more permits and licences than any other state. This will only made matters worse.

In order to comply, the website repeatedly states that relationships with employee representatives (read, unions) must be fostered cooperatively, that allowances must be made for them and consultation processes must be in place for them.

Shadow Minister for Finance, Ryan Smith, said after imposing the world’s longest lockdown, Daniel Andrews should be supporting Victorian businesses, not creating more red tape and actively limiting opportunities.

“Withholding government work from businesses who choose to operate without union intervention is nothing short of blackmail.”

“This will lock out any small or medium sized business whose staff have chosen not to be represented by a union.”

“This new code will only hurt Victorian businesses and the people they employ. It is the sign of a Labor government who has arrogantly gone too far.”

“Victorian small businesses will never recover under Labor’s red tape and extra costs. Only a change of government will give Victoria the fresh start it needs.”

Ryan Smith MP

Shadow Minister for Finance

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