Mr BARTON: My question today is for Minister Pulford, representing the minister for road safety and transport, and coincidentally is on the subject of Uber and the Transport Workers Union, who are also friends of mine. They signed an agreement earlier this month that established an agenda for the future working conditions of gig economy workers. That sounds familiar. After years of court cases and front-page scandals and now a change in federal government, thank goodness, Uber has had no choice but to come to the table. This is an attempt by Uber to shape gig economy regulation before it shapes them. Without these workplace so-called contractors, who I like to call employees, will the government be proactive and start legislating basic protections for gig economy workers?
Ms PULFORD (Western Victoria—Minister for Employment, Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy, Minister for Small Business, Minister for Resources) (12:07): I thank Mr Barton for his question. Mr Barton is a fine member of this chamber who always acts with integrity, never leaves the government or anybody else wondering about what we should be doing for his people and has in every opportunity that has been presented to him in nearly four years in this Parliament stood up for workers, particularly those in vulnerable employment, insecure employment, in the gig economy. I will take your question on notice and provide that to Minister Carroll, and we will provide you with a written response in accordance with our standing orders.
Mr BARTON (Eastern Metropolitan) (12:08): Thank you, Minister. In May earlier this year I moved a motion in this house to establish an independent tribunal for transport workers. This tribunal would be an independent panel of industry experts who have the power to set minimum and enforceable standards, enter into enforceable and certified collective agreements, resolve disputes and review all unfair contracts. Given that now Uber also agrees that an independent tribunal should exist, will the government introduce an independent tribunal for transport workers?
Ms PULFORD (Western Victoria—Minister for Employment, Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy, Minister for Small Business, Minister for Resources) (12:09): I thank Mr Barton for his supplementary question and again thank him for his interest in standing up for workers in the transport industry, and I will seek a written response from Minister Carroll for Mr Barton.
A written response was ordered for both the substantive and supplementary questions. Written response received:
I thank the Member for Eastern Metropolitan Region for his question and acknowledge his consistent advocacy on behalf of workers in the commercial passenger vehicle industry.
I am advised that the matters the Member raises fall within the portfolio responsibilities of the Minister for Industrial Relations, the Hon Tim Pallas MP. The Member may wish to direct his question to the Minister representing the Minister for Industrial Relations, the Hon Jaclyn Symes MP.
In any case, I wish to advise that since the release of the government’s response to the Victorian Inquiry into the On-Demand Workforce, the Government has continued with work to implement those recommendations.
In December 2021, the government released its Fair Conduct and Accountability Standards for consultation and embarked on a thorough engagement process with stakeholders including Uber and the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU), in relation to the proposed standards. Work to implement the Inquiry recommendations is ongoing.
Hon Jaala Pulford MP