‘Toxic’ labour hire attack will damage WA, says CCIWA

CCIWA CEO Chris Rodwell

CCIWA CEO Chris Rodwell

Striking a deal with the Senate crossbench to pass parts of the Federal Government’s Closing Loopholes Bill will “damage WA’s mining sector and undermine the future of our State’s economy”. 

Responding to the announcement to pass labour hire laws through Federal Parliament, CCIWA CEO Chris Rodwell says WA will be the biggest loser from the deal. 

Some of the Bill has been enacted from December 15.

“The mining industry accounts for 45% of WA’s economy and directly supports tens of thousands of well-paid jobs in our State, plus many more along the supply chain,” Rodwell says. 

“Mining, and other critical sectors like agriculture, rely on labour hire for legitimate operational reasons. The flow-on impact of that for our economy will be significant. 

“By rushing this change through Parliament, the Federal Government has shown a fundamental lack of understanding of the Western Australian economy.” 

Rodwell says the attack on the mining sector will be felt right through the WA economy at a time when households are grappling with a cost-of-living crisis. 

He says there is a misconception that companies using labour hire, such as miners and farmers, are trying to rort workers. 

“They use labour hire to fill gaps in seasonal operations and deal with commodity swings,” Rodwell says. 

“The Closing Loopholes Bill is nothing more than a wish list from union bosses, at the expense of West Australian businesses and the economy.” 

The supposed “carve out” for service contractors does not guarantee those vital services will be protected from these changes. 

WA will lose out on investment dollars

Rodwell says the changes will damage Australia’s reputation and send investment dollars overseas. 

 “Australia is in a race for global capital to develop new industries in clean energy, critical minerals and emerging technologies,” he says. 

“We sorely need an agenda that drives higher productivity, not one that sends it backwards.” 

Rodwell says the deal allows the “toxic attack” on labour hire to pass through Parliament before a Senate committee inquiry has had the chance to hand down its findings. CCIWA appeared before the WA Senate committee hearing in October, clearly outlining the fears of Members and presenting the results of its recent survey. 

CCIWA remains deeply concerned about the remaining elements of the Bill, including changes to casual employment and union right-of-entry, which will go before Parliament in 2024. 

To find out more about what we stand for, visit our Advocacy page.     

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