Gig worker ‘rules’ prompts warning

CCIWA has warned efforts to bring gig economy workers under WA’s industrial relations system run against the tide of the global economy and will only reduce our state’s competitiveness by undermining our capacity to innovate and grow.

The warning follows reports that the State Government’s ongoing review of WA’s IR system is looking at gig economy working conditions and whether workers could be brought under the state system, as suggested in its submission to the Federal Senate Inquiry into the future of work.

This would apply to app developers like Uber, Airtasker and Deliveroo.

CCI CEO Chris Rodwell says the gig economy represents a significant opportunity for the WA economy and our community.

“It gives our people the freedom to choose when they work, flexibility to top up incomes and bridge to new employment, and opportunities to reduce the costs of goods and services,” he says.

“Too often, governments think of innovation in terms of how they will spend taxpayer money picking winners, and fail to realise that the most important building block to innovation and economic growth is to reduce the regulatory burden.

“If the State Government moves to enforce onerous regulation it sends a message that the State is not open to new approaches to business.

“WA already lacks scale when it comes to innovation. Our start-up community is underweight on both a national and international basis, and such a decision would exacerbate the problem rather than remedy it.”

CCI’s submission to the Ministerial Review of the WA IR system recommends there should be no change to the definition of ‘employee’, and any considered change to the definition would need to be examined in its entirety and the full impacts of the change assessed.

“Little consideration appears to have been given to the true impact of changing the definition of employee,” Rodwell says.

“If this change proceeds, it won’t just disrupt the business models of online platforms, it would also have the potential to capture domestic workers such as gardeners, household cleaners, babysitters and home carers.

“This would potentially turn private homes into workplaces, requiring them to comply with employment legislation, including worker’s compensation insurance, superannuation and workplace safety.

“At the end of the resources construction boom, thousands of West Australians that lost their jobs were able to continue to earn an income quickly thanks to the flexibility of the gig economy. Without the likes of Uber, many thousands of people would have been without an income whatsoever.

“CCI urges the Government to not pre-empt the reviews findings, and to instead undertake detailed and comprehensive consultation with business, and in particular, the new economy organisations that may be impacted, before a decision on any changes is made.”

Early-bird tickets now open — secure your spot at CCI’s annual IR Conference as we explore the implications of a rapidly changing workforce. 

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