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Government should end speculation on contractors

The Gillard Government should put an unequivocal end to speculation that it has a plan to force trade contractors into the Fair Work system, according to the Housing Industry Association.
Mr Shane Goodwin, HIA‟s Managing Director said.
“The Assistant Treasurer, Bill Shorten, should squash claims by union leaders that the proposed new income tax reporting requirements for contractors are aimed at so-called „sham contracting‟, or that the Government has any objective here beyond improving income tax compliance”.
“He should also end speculation on this issue by providing the industry with an unequivocal public assurance that the Gillard Government will uphold the right of tradespersons to work as contractors if they so choose, and a statement that the unions‟ attempts to vilify all small business tradespersons as „shams‟ is wrong in both law and fact”.
Recent statements by the CFMEU that sham contracting in the industry is growing at an “alarming rate” and that employers are using this to avoid paying tax and entitlements to workers are completely incorrect, and made only to advance the unions‟ industrial relations objectives, according to HIA.
Mr Goodwin said “The housing industry has relied almost exclusively on trade contractors for over 60 years, so contracting is nothing new. That is because contractors can operate much more efficiently in the special circumstances of the housing industry by moving rapidly from site to site, working flexibly and taking responsibility for their own work, and charging only for results achieved, not time served. They are simply much more efficient than employees working under all the Award and union restrictions. Although Australian housing affordability has long been founded on this fact, the building unions have never stopped trying to undermine the subcontract system.”