Ai Group urges a national approach to any WR changes for platform businesses

The national employer association Ai Group has presented the Victorian Government with its response to the 20 recommendations of the Inquiry into the Victorian On-Demand Workforce. Ai Group has emphasised the importance of taking a national approach to any legislative or other changes.

“It would not be in anyone’s interests for legislative or other changes to be introduced in Victoria when all the major platform businesses operate nationally and when Australia has a national workplace relations system,” Ai Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox, said today.

“The Final Report on the Inquiry recognises the important ongoing role that platform businesses are playing in the labour market and the community:

Platforms have greatly enhanced our choices and created flexible work, proving to be highly responsive and agile in enabling people to access services as, and when, we need.

Flexibility and autonomy are highly desirable elements of a modern labour market. And platforms are a new way of facilitating this work, providing access to the labour market for workers who may encounter difficulties getting work.[1]

“The Final Report also recognises the critical role that platform businesses have played, and are continuing to play, during the COVID-19 crisis:

Platforms have played an important role in helping us manage the response to COVID-19. They have supported business to pivot to online delivery and enabled the self-isolating community to source what we need via our devices. Food delivery, rideshare, the buying and selling of goods, along with social interaction and work have all been driven online.[2]

“Any consideration of further government measures in regard to platform businesses should recognize that the major platform businesses have devoted, and continue to devote, a great deal of resources to ensuring that their work arrangements are lawful.

“Consistent with a central recommendation in the inquiry’s Final Report, the reform process needs to be led by the Commonwealth, in collaboration with the States and in consultation with stakeholders.

“Ai Group’s position on the Inquiry’s key recommendations includes support for the retention of the common law approach to defining an independent contractor. The common law is far better equipped to assess the substance of particular relationships than any statutory definition could. Any ‘one size fits all’ definition would prevent the facts and circumstances of individual cases being fully considered, and would disrupt, to the detriment of the parties, a very large number of existing contractual arrangements that are legitimate under common law,” Mr Willox said.

Ai Group’s submission on all the Inquiry’s key recommendations is available at this link.

[1] Final Report of the Inquiry into the Victorian On-Demand Workforce, p.2.

[2] Final Report of the Inquiry into the Victorian On-Demand Workforce, p.1.

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