The right of Australians to maximise their pay by being their own boss will be quashed by laws designed to stamp out the long-standing Australian practice of independent contracting.

“Under this proposal, it is the union’s way or the highway. It would be a devastating blow to ambitious Australians who want to determine their own future,” ACCI chief executive officer Andrew McKellar said.

“The Orwellian title, ‘Closing Loopholes Bill’, is more accurately the Closing Business Bill, because that is what will happen if it goes ahead unchanged.

“The dead hand of regulation will strangle the innovation and entrepreneurship that independent skilled workers harness to grow their businesses.

“The dead hand has over-reached through sheer ignorance of how tradespeople and other contractors conduct their business today. They advertise their services online and the government has failed to adequately explain how their sweeping regulations will leave independent contractors alone.

“We cannot go back to the Yellow Pages era. For today’s tradespeople, new customers come to them online, and this proposal will create unnecessary legal complexity.

“These laws will impact tradespeople like builders, electricians and plumbers and other professionals who advertise their services online, and ultimately the consumers who go online to find those services.

“It also puts at risk the flexible working conditions that are valued by those who earn income through contracting. The year is 2023, not 1973, but that is where the government will be taking us.”

Additionally, the proposal threatens the viability of Australia’s vibrant platform economy that delivers essential goods and services to consumers.

“With no little regard for the millions of Australians who go online for rideshare, food delivery and myriad other services, this legislation proposed by the government puts at risk the easy access that consumers want,” Mr McKellar said.

“Your food delivery or your lift home on a Friday night will be more expensive and less accessible because of these changes.

“Australian consumers are voting with their smartphone screens and using these services. Many workers embrace the flexibility that platform work enables, particularly students and those with family responsibilities.

“The government also needs to explain how this will not create an additional burden on the National Disability Insurance Scheme if platform care workers are driven out of business.”

Mr McKellar said the only group in this country opposed to this modern-day approach is the union movement who want to turn back the clock 50 years.

“They are pining for the days of punch-card clocks and knock-off whistles. Much of the world just is not like that anymore,” Mr McKellar said.

Ashley Gardiner

Director - Media and Communications

P: 0262708020

Share this article