On Thursday the 7th of December, it was reported that a deal had been reached between the Labor Government and senators Jaqui Lambie and David Pocock in regards to the Closing Loopholes Bill.
The majority of the senate agreed to key elements of the original bill, such as the 'same job, same pay' provisions, plus new amendments negotiated by Ms. Lambie and Mr. Pocock.
A comprehensive independent review of Comcare to be initiated
New guidelines on independent medical assessments for workers
Reversing the onus of proof for first responders with post-traumatic stress disorder to improve access to work health and safety support. This also applies to members of the Australian Border Force, the AFP, ambulance officers, firefighters, paramedics and emergency service communications operators.
Greater protections for those experiencing family and domestic violence from being discriminated against at work
Expanded functions of the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency to include silica
Insurances that employees of large companies don’t miss out on redundancy entitlements as a business downsizes due to insolvency
Closure of labour hire loopholes consistent with amendments to the legislation that passed the House of Representatives
Criminalisation of intentional wage theft and the non-payment of superannuation
Insurances for industrial manslaughter to become a criminal offence
Insurances that health and safety representatives can access workplaces consistent with the recommendations of the Boland review
Increased funding for the small business advisory service within the Fair Work ombudsman.
The workplace relations minister, Tony Burke, declared it was a “great day for workers’ wages and safety. Mr. Burke first introduced the industrial relations bill in September with the first draft of the legislation seeing backlash over concerns of an increase in consumer prices as a result of the same-job, same pay provisions. These would require labour hire workers to be paid the same as those directly employed on a workplace pay deal.
Mr. Burke eventually won the support of the Australian Hotels Association and the Australian Resources and Energy Employer Association. In the case of the latter, this was achieved by removing service contractors from the same-job, same-pay provisions.