Labor launches Fair Work Taskforce

The Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Brendan O’Connor today officially launched Labor’s new Fair Work Taskforce with Chair, Lisa Chesters MP and Secretary, Senator Chris Ketter.

Labor has established the Fair Work Taskforce because we believe that everyone should have a say about how the Abbott Government’s attack on jobs, wages and conditions will hurt them, their families and their community. 

Labor believes in investing in the skills and capacity of Australians so we can take advantage of the high-skill jobs of the future, not a wages race to the bottom.

 The Taskforce will travel across the country to hear from employees, employers, unions, academics and policy experts about the Abbott Government’s threats to jobs, penalty rates and the minimum wage. 

Before the election, the Liberals promised not to touch workers’ employment conditions and Tony Abbott said that WorkChoices was dead, buried and cremated. It’s clear now, however, that it was merely sedated. Contrary to Tony Abbott’s promise, since the election we’ve seen: 

• the Commission of Audit recommend radical changes to current entitlements including cutting the minimum wage every year for a decade;

 • the introduction of no fewer than 10 unfair workplace relations Bills, all of which seek to cut hard-won workplace entitlements and conditions; and 

• the Government's Productivity Commission Review that has put working conditions on the table, including penalty rates and the minimum wage.

This Government’s dishonesty and incompetence is hurting Australians, it’s hurting the economy, it’s hurting jobs and its hurting the most vulnerable.

Labor believes in a workplace relations system that provides a strong safety net, drives productivity and delivers a strong economic future.

The Taskforce’s first hearing will be in June in Tasmania where the unemployment rate is the highest in the country.