Ethical standards set to deliver better Queensland jobs

The Palaszczuk Government has bolstered its commitment to workers, with tougher guidelines under the Buy Queensland Procurement Policy ensuring companies meet Queenslanders expectations when supplying to Government.

Housing and Public Works Minister Mick de Brenni said the Buy Queensland Ethical Supplier Threshold, and the Ethical Supplier Mandate would go the extra mile to ensure Queensland companies that do the right thing don’t have to compete with those that cut corners on jobs, apprentices, training, safety or other commitments including those to support disadvantaged Queenslanders into work.

“Through the Palaszczuk Government’s Buy Qld policy we have a high expectation when it comes to investing Queensland taxpayer dollars, so that we create and maintain decent, secure local jobs and grow local businesses.

“Queensland employers are happy to pay a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work, so they shouldn’t have to compete in a race to the bottom,” Mr de Brenni said.

Mr de Brenni said the government was responding to a Parliamentary wage theft report by strengthening the Buy Queensland approach with an Ethical Supplier Threshold.

“Whether it’s training apprentices or paying super, our new guidelines set sturdy standards we expect suppliers to follow when they do business with us.

“Failing to pay award and penalty rates, engaging in sham contracting or dodgy labour hire, or wilfully ignoring other legal requirements is wage theft and something this government is determined to put an end to,” he said.

“The public reaction to the recent high-profile rip-offs in the hospitality sector show the community expects that all companies meet these basic conditions, and I think it’s even more so if they are supplying to government.”

From 1 August 2019, companies that fail to meet the Threshold are automatically excluded from tendering for Queensland Government contracts.

“Breaches of the Threshold also include pretending employees are independent contractors when they’re not, and having unpaid interns when they should be paid employees,” Mr de Brenni said

“The Palaszczuk Government is not only protecting workers, but creating a level playing field for Queensland suppliers by ensuring they are not exposed to undercutting and unjust competition.

“Queensland suppliers, industry representatives and unions have been very supportive of a rigorous framework that simply requires every company to meet basic standards.”

Mr de Brenni said an additional measure, the Ethical Supplier Mandate, would also be progressively rolled out, commencing with building and construction suppliers on 1 August 2019, transport infrastructure and services suppliers on 1 October 2019, with further categories in 2020.

Mr de Brenni said while the Mandate was aimed at companies doing business with the government, the benefits would flow to the whole state.

“Taxpayer dollars should be invested with suppliers who are ethical, environmentally and socially responsible and uphold their contractual obligations,” he said.

“Under the Mandate, the Palaszczuk Government will introduce a demerit system to ensure that wilful and repeated failure to meet basic standards for Queensland workers would result in exclusion of offending companies already supplying to the Government.”

Suppliers who fail to meet the criteria will accrue demerit points on a sliding scale from 2-10 for minor, moderate or major performance issues.

A 12-month suspension from doing business with the government may apply to those who accumulate 20 or more demerit points within a 12-month period, or who contravene the Ethical Supplier Threshold.

“Queenslanders believe in a fair go, and it’s not much to ask that the minority of companies who don’t meet their obligations are benched, so that those who are doing the right thing get a run.” Mr de Brenni said.

“This Mandate holds under-performing suppliers to account and will see action taken if they do the wrong thing by their workers or Queensland taxpayers.”

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