Last week we learned of a second group of fuel retail businesses that has been embroiled in an employment compliance scandal.

As the peak national advocate for the fuel retail industry, ACAPMA has an absolute commitment to ensure that all member businesses are fully aware of their obligations under Australian employment law.

“Paying employees in full accordance with Australian Employment Law is not an option – it is an absolute legal and moral requirement”, said ACAPMA CEO Mark McKenzie.

While it might previously have been argued that these problems were due to some businesses being unaware of the law, these latest revelations suggest there is an element in the fuel retails industry that is deliberately flouting Australian employment law for their own advantage.

“To say that these latest revelations are disappointing is an understatement”, said Mark.

“The illegal actions of this latest group of businesses not only threatens the reputation of the brand they display – it is damaging to the reputation of our industry as a whole and is likely to be distorting fuel retail market competition in Australia”, continued Mark.

Issues associated with employment law compliance in our industry (and other industries) have seen the Federal Government move to tighten Federal Employment laws, giving increased power to the Fair Work Ombudsmen. These laws will be introduced later this year and take effect from early 2017.

In the meantime, the Federal Government has recently set up two multi-agency task forces to increase the ability of the Fair Work Ombudsman to detect businesses that are not complying with Australian Employment Law – particularly in the area of foreign worker employment.

The first of these is Taskforce Cadena. Set up by the Australian Government in June of this year, Taskforce Cadena is jointly led by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and the Fair Work Ombudsman. It is working with other Australian Government such as the Australian Taxation Office and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, as well as law enforcement agencies such as the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Border Force.

More recently, the Australian Government announced a second Task Force to address employment Law Breaches by businesses in all industries. The new Migrant Workers Taskforce was announced in early October 2016 and has been set up to explicitly target businesses taking advantage of foreign workers.

Led by former ACCC Chairman, Professor Alan Fels, the taskforce will work in partnership with Operation Cadena as well as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the Fair Work Ombudsman and the Australian Securities and Investment Commission.

“Put simply, if there are businesses out there that think that they are going to get away with continued breaches of employment law then they are kidding themselves”, said Mark.

“It is time for our industry to rid ourselves of this unscrupulous element in our industry – they are doing damage to their employees, to the brands they display and to our industry as a whole”, said Mark.

Any business owner that is genuinely unsure of whether they are operating in full compliance with all relevant provisions of Australian Employment Law should contact ACAPMA on 1300 160 270 for further information.