HIA secures independent contracting arrangements

by | Feb 20, 2024

Home Industry Association logoThe Federal Government has confirmed that independent contracting arrangements in the residential building industry will be unchanged by the passing of the Closing Loopholes Bill through Parliament, thanks largely to the Housing Industry Association’s (HIA) efforts.

HIA has worked with the Government to ensure long-standing contracting arrangements in the residential building industry are preserved. With 80 per cent of the workforce in the sector based on independent contracting, HIA was intent on ensuring the Bill maintained a person’s right to work for themselves,” said Jocelyn Martin, HIA Managing Director.

Ms Martin said that HIA raised concerns with the new definition of employment, specifically how that would impact independent contracting arrangements in the residential building industry. The measures as passed provide some comfort that the status quo for independent contractors can be maintained.

“During our consultation with the Government, the Minister committed to giving HIA the opportunity to work directly with the Fair Work Ombudsman to develop industry-specific information and advice to support the industry to navigate these reforms,” she said.

“The residential building industry is just starting to turn a corner after the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic begin to dissipate, now is not the time for further disruption via complex regulatory changes that simply add a layer of uncertainty and risk.”

Measures that also passed through Parliament that will empower the Fair Work Commission to deal with business-to-business arrangements and excessive increases in penalties remain of concern and will act as a disincentive to run a business and employ staff, Ms Martin added.

“HIA stands by the Government’s commitment to build 1.2 million homes over the next 5 years, but we need a flexible, and buoyant housing industry coupled with policy settings that make employing attractive. Complex and cumbersome change will only serve to do the opposite,” concluded Ms Martin.