In the first national survey to investigate the impact of multiculturalism on Australia’s economy, the ABC’s chief economic correspondent Sophie Lee examines the changing demographics of the country.
Key points:Australia’s largest employer is a global health and pharmaceutical company that employs more than 6,000 people in the ACT’s north-westThe ACT is the first state in Australia to have a non-discrimination law for employers and workersThere are some major barriers to achieving diversity in Australia’s workplaceThe ACT has a non -discrimination law on its books and it can attract a wide range of businesses and employers that would not otherwise have a presenceThe ACT’s first non-discriminatory state law for workplaces is the so-called ACT Non Discrimination Act 2017 (ACT Act) which gives non-resident workers in the state a greater legal right to equal treatment and a legal obligation to seek out opportunities to be included in Australian workforces.
It is one of only four states to have such a law, but many employers and business groups are challenging it.
For more than 20 years, the ACT has been the only state in the country to have an equal rights law, with the other four states including Victoria, Western Australia and New South Wales.
It was created by the Racial Discrimination Act 1968 and was amended by the Human Rights (Employment) Act 2004.
The ACT Act was designed to create a workplace environment in which employees are treated equally and to protect the rights of all employees to work without discrimination.
However, the legislation has been criticised by many in the industry for its discriminatory nature, as well as by some businesses.
The Fair Work Commission has also said that it will review the ACT Act over the coming months.
“The ACT legislation is designed to give an employer the right to treat all workers fairly,” commission president and CEO David Eby said.
“It does not do that.
It is a job protection measure, not a fair working conditions law.”
The Fair Working Australia Foundation says the law has created a “dangerous situation for employers in the context of the changing Australian economy”.
It said the ACT is a “minor contributor” to the cost of Australia’s labour force, with many businesses using it as a “catch-all” protectionist measure, and with the ACT act creating “unnecessary barriers” to entry for workers in other states.
“The Fair Employment and Housing Act has been used by employers to discriminate against workers in certain industries,” said Fair Work Foundation executive director Mark Hoban.
“We need to protect and promote the right of workers to work for free, not for cheap labour.”
This is a dangerous situation for our country.
The Fair Work Act needs to be reviewed.
“What do employers say about the ACT ACT Act?
As a non employee, you may be able to find work in the private sector if you have the right visa and work permit.
If you have a job offer from a business, you should seek out an interview to discuss your skills and qualifications, and if you are an employee of a foreign employer, contact your employer directly.
Employers and organisations need to be aware of the changes introduced by the ACT and the Fair Work legislation.
For information on the ACT Acts changes, please refer to the Fair Employment Act 2017 and the Australian Human Rights Commission website.