Fairwork Audits Ahead

Updated: 23/04/2010

The Fairwork Ombudsman will begin audits of about 1000 horticultural properties around Australia in the coming months to ensure workers are not being exploited.

The Fair Work Ombudsman’s office will conduct random audits of growers next month and in June to see if they are abiding by the new horticulture award and new national employment standards.

The FWO officials will also keep an eye out for illegal migrant workers and alert the federal immigration department for follow-up action if required.

Fair Work Ombudsman

A spokesman for the FWO said the audits followed an extensive education campaign involving a guide for employers, self-audit tools and information seminars. “We’ll be checking the level of compliance in the wake of this educational push,” the spokesman said.

The move comes amid reports of some growers resorting to illegal migrants or under-paid workers in a bid to keep costs down in a tough commercial environment.

National Farmers’ Federation workplace policy manager Denita Wawn said there had been stories of some employers bringing in busloads of workers at rates that did not comply with workplace relations laws.

If you are one of the employers selected, you will receive a letter, visit or telephone call from a Fair Work Inspector outlining the requirements of the audit and notifying you of the records or documents you will need to produce.

If you are found not to be complying with your obligations you will be provided with further assistance and encouraged to rectify the matter voluntarily.

If voluntarily compliance is not achieved or if a serious or wilful contravention of the law is uncovered, further compliance action will be taken to ensure that the requirements of Commonwealth workplace laws are met.

Source: David McKenzie, Weekly Times Now, 22 April 2010

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