105 Cameron Street Launceston Tas 7250

ROSS HART– Australian Labor Party candidate for Bass

As the federal election race begins ramping up and mainland attention once again falls on Northern Tasmania, it seems the ongoing casualisation of the region’s workforce will be a key battleground. The issue was flagged by Labor’s federal manager of opposition business Tony Burke during a recent visit to Launceston.
“I’m going around the country talking to people to get a sense of just how bad job insecurity is, and Tasmania is the worst in the country,” he said.
And it seems the data supports that claim. ABS statistics from 2020 tallied Tasmania’s casual workforce at 26.6 per cent of all employees, making it the frontrunner among states and territories. While casual work rates have dipped nationally in more recent statistics, this has been largely attributed to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the workforce.
Falling rates of full-time contracts, the rise of gig economy jobs for companies like Uber or Deliveroo, as well as low confidence levels for small and medium business owners have all been attributed to the rise in insecure work. Jessica Munday – secretary of Unions Tasmania, which has been publicly combating the rise of casualisation in recent years – noted that Tasmania’s higher rates of insecure work were partly due to its key sectors. “Two of the largest industries in Tasmania are retail and health care, and those are two areas where insecure work proliferates,” she said. In response to the rise, Mr Burke joined Labor’s federal candidate for Bass, Ross Hart, in calling for changes to the Fair Work Act, minimum standards for the gig economy and limits on consecutive contracts as a means to combat the rise of Insecure work.
“It can be fixed if we want to fix it 1…1 It’s understandably hard for any business to fix this on their own. That’s why you need to fix it at a national level,” Mr Burke said. Building on that, Ms Munday believes workplace laws need to change to disincentivize and properly define casual work. In separate interviews, both Ms Munday and Mr Burke also highlighted the need for a stronger emphasis on secure work in government contracts.