Showing posts with label Fair Work Commission. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fair Work Commission. Show all posts

Thursday, 30 July 2020

Fair Work Commission shuts the door after COVID-19 has bolted


In April 2020 the Fair Work Commission was aware of a need and varied 99 modern awards to support the inclusion of "unpaid pandemic leave".

At the time it was also aware that there was a need to consider paid pandemic leave in respect of “health care workers” covered by a number of awards.

However, on 8 July the Fair Work Commission dithered and refused to vary identified “Health awards” to provide for paid pandemic leave.

This refusal came despite the strong suspicion that some private sector aged care workers in insecure employment were not declaring COVID-19 symptoms as they could not afford to stay home without suffering financial hardship and possible loss of ongoing employment.

The inevitable began to occur. COVID-19 infection numbers began to rise again in private sector aged care facilities in Victoria where there are now at least 440 active cases in 61 aged care facilities and the death toll for those in residential care stands at 47 elderly people.

In addition these 61 aged care facilities appear to be associated with another 78 COVID-19 cases.

Although Victoria has the highest death toll New South Wales is not far behind, with 29 elderly people in residential care dead since the start of the pandemic.

The national COVID-19 death toll in residential care stood at 78 on 29 July 2020 according to the Australian Government Dept. of Health. 

It was only on 27 July that the Fair Work Commission decided it was convinced there was a need for paid pandemic leave in the aged care sector*.

ABC News, 28 July 2020:

Aged care workers employed under three awards will be entitled to two weeks' paid leave if they are required to self-isolate due to having coronavirus symptoms or being a close contact of a confirmed case, following a ruling from the Fair Work Commission.

The amendments will come into effect from Wednesday, July 29, and last for three months.

Conditions attached to the paid leave include:
  • Workers must be aged 17 or older and be likely to have worked during the self-isolation period
  • Cannot be receiving any income — including other leave or JobKeeper — during their time in quarantine
  • If workers test positive to the virus they will be provided with workers compensation leave, which will supersede the pandemic leave
  • If the direction to self-isolate comes from a doctor, and not come the Government or employer, the worker must provide a medical certificate
  • The entitlement extends to casual employees "engaged on a regular and systemic basis" and the payment would be based on their average earnings over the past six weeks.....
In its ruling, the FWC stated "it cannot be assumed that the current outbreak will remain confined to Victoria".

"The recent events in that state demonstrate how rapidly circumstances can change," the full bench of the commission found.

"Recent developments in New South Wales are not encouraging. The award of the entitlement remains necessary notwithstanding that the current locus of the pandemic is in Victoria."…...

Key points:
  • The Fair Work Commission ruled the paid leave was necessary nationwide due to recent events demonstrating "how rapidly circumstances can change"
  • The ruling follows submissions from the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Health Services Union and the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation calling for paid pandemic leave to apply for all staff in aged care across the country until the end of September
  • Only casual employees who can have been employed on a "regular and systemic basis" will be entitled to the paid leave
  • The commission's ruling grants paid pandemic leave to staff working in residential aged care under the Aged Care Award, the Nurses Award and the Health Professionals Award.
NOTE
* See Fair Work Commission, Decisions, Health Sector Awards—Pandemic Leave, (AM2020/13), 27 July 2020

Sunday, 21 June 2020

Fair Work Commission announces a staged 1.75% increase to Australian minimum wages. Group 1 from the first full pay period starting on or after 1 July 2020, Group 2 from 1 November 2020 & Group 3 from 1 February 2021. Which group are you in?


Fair Work Commission, media release, 19 June 2020:


The Fair Work Commission has announced a 1.75% increase to minimum wages. This will apply to all award wages.
Increases to awards will start on 3 different dates for different groups of awards. See When will my award increase for information on when the awards will increase.
Most employees are covered by an award. If you’re not sure which award applies, use Find my award.
For anyone not covered by an award or an agreement, the new national minimum wage will be $753.80 per week or $19.84 per hour. This applies from the first full pay period starting on or after 1 July 2020.
You can read the detailed decisionexternal-icon.png on the Fair Work Commission’s website.

What do you need to do?

While we’re working to update our website and tools with more information and the new rates, you can:
  • subscribe to get email updates and we’ll let you know when the new minimum rates are available in our pay tools
  • keep checking our website for updates.
If you’re registered with My account you can subscribe to updates and manage your subscriptions in your account.

Who does the increase apply to?

The 1.75% increase applies to the national minimum wage and will apply to minimum rates in awards in 3 stages. See When will my award increase for information on when the awards will increase.
If you’re covered by a registered agreement, you should check it to see whether this increase affects you.
The increase doesn’t affect employees who already get paid more than their new minimum wage.

Interaction with the JobKeeper payment

The new minimum wage also applies to any work an employee performs while they're in the JobKeeper scheme, if they get their pay rate from an award or the national minimum wage. See JobKeeper and the Annual Wage Review 2020 on our JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme page for more information.

What happens next?

The Commission will issue draft determinations and orders about how this decision affects awards. It will then update the pay rates in each award.  We’re working on updates to our pay tools, information and resources with the new rates.

When will my award increase?

The increase to awards will happen in 3 groups.

Group 1 Awards - from 1 July 2020

  • Frontline Heath Care & Social Assistance Workers
  • Teachers and Child Care
  • Other Essential Services

Group 2 Awards - from 1 November 2020

  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • A range of other industries

Group 3 Awards - from 1 February 2021

  • Accommodation and Food Services
  • Arts and Recreation Services
  • Aviation
  • Retail
  • Tourism
See below for a complete list of awards in each group:

Group 1

The new minimum wages will start in the following awards from the first full pay period starting on or after 1 July 2020.
  • Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services Award
  • Aged Care Award
  • Ambulance and Patient Transport Industry Award
  • Banking, Finance and Insurance Award
  • Cemetery Industry Award
  • Children’s Services Award
  • Cleaning Services Award
  • Corrections and Detention (Private Sector) Award
  • Educational Services (Schools) General Staff Award
  • Educational Services (Teachers) Award
  • Electrical Power Industry Award
  • Fire Fighting Industry Award
  • Funeral Industry Award
  • Gas Industry Award
  • Health Professionals and Support Services Award
  • Medical Practitioners Award
  • Nurses Award
  • Pharmacy Industry Award
  • Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award
  • State Government Agencies Award
  • Water Industry Award

Group 2

The new minimum wages will start in the following awards from the first full pay period starting on or after 1 November 2020.
  • Aluminium Industry Award
  • Animal Care and Veterinary Services Award
  • Aquaculture Industry Award
  • Architects Award
  • Asphalt Industry Award
  • Black Coal Mining Industry Award
  • Book Industry Award
  • Broadcasting, Recorded Entertainment and Cinemas Award
  • Building and Construction General On-site Award
  • Business Equipment Award
  • Car Parking Award
  • Cement, Lime and Quarrying Award
  • Clerks—Private Sector Award
  • Coal Export Terminals Award
  • Concrete Products Award
  • Contract Call Centres Award
  • Cotton Ginning Award
  • Dredging Industry Award
  • Educational Services (Post-Secondary Education) Award
  • Electrical, Electronic and Communications Contracting Award
  • Food, Beverage and Tobacco Manufacturing Award
  • Gardening and Landscaping Services Award
  • Graphic Arts, Printing and Publishing Award
  • Higher Education Industry-Academic Staff-Award
  • Higher Education Industry-General Staff-Award
  • Horticulture Award
  • Hydrocarbons Field Geologists Award
  • Hydrocarbons Industry (Upstream) Award
  • Joinery and Building Trades Award
  • Journalists Published Media Award
  • Labour Market Assistance Industry Award
  • Legal Services Award
  • Local Government Industry Award
  • Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award
  • Marine Towage Award
  • Maritime Offshore Oil and Gas Award
  • Market and Social Research Award
  • Meat Industry Award
  • Mining Industry Award
  • Miscellaneous Award
  • Mobile Crane Hiring Award
  • Oil Refining and Manufacturing Award
  • Passenger Vehicle Transportation Award
  • Pastoral Award
  • Pest Control Industry Award
  • Pharmaceutical Industry Award
  • Plumbing and Fire Sprinklers Award
  • Port Authorities Award
  • Ports, Harbours and Enclosed Water Vessels Award
  • Poultry Processing Award
  • Premixed Concrete Award
  • Professional Diving Industry (Industrial) Award
  • Professional Employees Award
  • Rail Industry Award
  • Real Estate Industry Award
  • Road Transport (Long Distance Operations) Award
  • Road Transport and Distribution Award
  • Salt Industry Award
  • Seafood Processing Award
  • Seagoing Industry Award
  • Security Services Award
  • Silviculture Award
  • Stevedoring Industry Award
  • Storage Services and Wholesale Award
  • Sugar Industry Award
  • Supported Employment Services Award
  • Surveying Award
  • Telecommunications Services Award
  • Textile, Clothing, Footwear and Associated Industries Award
  • Timber Industry Award
  • Transport (Cash in Transit) Award
  • Waste Management Award
  • Wool Storage, Sampling and Testing Award

Group 3

The new minimum wages will start in the following awards from the first full pay period starting on or after 1 February 2021.
  • Air Pilots Award
  • Aircraft Cabin Crew Award
  • Airline Operations-Ground Staff Award
  • Airport Employees Award
  • Alpine Resorts Award
  • Amusement, Events and Recreation Award
  • Commercial Sales Award
  • Dry Cleaning and Laundry Industry Award
  • Fast Food Industry Award
  • Fitness Industry Award
  • General Retail Industry Award
  • Hair and Beauty Industry Award
  • Horse and Greyhound Training Award
  • Hospitality Industry (General) Award
  • Live Performance Award
  • Mannequins and Models Award
  • Marine Tourism and Charter Vessels Award
  • Nursery Award
  • Professional Diving Industry (Recreational) Award
  • Racing Clubs Events Award
  • Racing Industry Ground Maintenance Award
  • Registered and Licensed Clubs Award
  • Restaurant Industry Award
  • Sporting Organisations Award
  • Travelling Shows Award
  • Vehicle Repair, Services and Retail Award
  • Wine Industry Award

Monday, 1 June 2020

The Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government preparing another assault on workers' rights and conditions - this time using the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse


Australian Prime Minister & Liberal MP for Cook Scott Morrison is considering dumping the BOOT test - the better off overall test - that governs the nation's enterprise bargaining system for establishing wages and conditions.

It is clear that he is laying the groundwork for this in the wording used in a press conference on 29 May 2020 when speaking of jobs and industrial relations reform.

Introduced in the 1994 enterprise bargaining is the process of negotiation generally between the employer, employees and their bargaining representatives with the goal of making an enterprise agreement

The Fair Work Act 2009 established clear rules and obligations about how this process is to occur, including rules about bargaining, the content of enterprise agreements, and how an agreement is made and approved.

Since the inception of enterprising bargaining est.161,728 enterprise agreements were created. However, only est. 10,877 remained by September 2019, as agreement numbers fell off markedly after a Fair Work Commission decision that every individual worker had to be better off in an enterprise bargaining agreement than under the relevant industry award.

Employers found it harder to reduce wages and conditions after that ruling and lost some of their enthusiasm - preferring instead to increasingly casualise their staff and/or transform them into rolling fixed contract workers.

Now in the middle of a global pandemic business groups are reportedly calling for removal of more conditions from awards and workplace pay deals as key priorities.

With the Australian Industry Group calling for reform in three key industrial relations areas by: 
  • changing enterprise bargaining laws in the current Fair Work Act; 
  • simplifying awards by removing conditions dealt with in legislation such as annual leave, personal/carer’s leave, redundancy pay, notice of termination, consultation, dispute resolution, flexibility agreements and requests for flexible work arrangements; 
  • removing barriers to "flexibility" in awards which would potentially allow lowering of labour costs;
  • retaining current civil penalties for underpayment of a worker's wage rather than creating a criminal offence for serious underpayments/deliberate theft;
  • abandoning the better off overall test for enterprise agreements;
  • further restriction potential union intervention in the enterprise bargaining process;
  • further restricting protected industrial action by workers; and 
  • extinguishing the new right of casuals working full-time hours to paid annual leave and public holiday entitlements (See Workpac v Rossato & Workpac v Skene).
Using job losses due to COVID-19 pandemic public health orders as an excuse, it is apparent that Morrison intends yet another sustained assault on penalty rates, wages and conditions.

Morrison is willing to progress this assault as far as introducing a bill or bills in the Australian Parliament drafted without the co-operation of unions or even some industry sectors if necessary.

Despite protestations otherwise, it is clear that the Liberal and National political parties are opening up another front in their seemingly endless, ideologically-driven, class war.

Friday, 22 May 2020

Australian casual employees regularly working full-time hours win paid leave, carer & compassionate leave in Federal Court ruling - Morrison Government threatens to change law to strip new rights away



"All members of the Court have also found that Mr Rossato was not a casual FTM under the 2012 EA, noting that the circumstances of his employment could not be distinguished in a material way from those of Skene. All members of the Court have found that WorkPac is not entitled to restitution of the casual loading which it claimed was included in the hourly rate it had paid to Mr Rossato. The members of the Court have found that there was no relevant mistake, and no failure of consideration such as would support restitutionary relief. All members of the Court have found that WorkPac is not entitled to bring into account the payments of remuneration that it had made to Mr Rossato on the basis that he was a casual employee. That is because the purposes of the payments of remuneration did not have a close correlation to the entitlements that Mr Rossato seeks. All members of the Court have found that WorkPac’s reliance on reg 2.03A of the Fair Work Regulations 2009 (Cth) was misplaced. By subregulation (d), the regulation can apply only when the person makes a claim to be paid an amount in lieu of one or more of the relevant NES entitlements. That is not this case as Mr Rossato seeks payment of the NES entitlements, not payments in lieu." [Workpac v Rossato, May 2020]


Yahoo! Finance, 21 May 2020:

Casual employees working full-time hours will be entitled to paid leave, setting back employers around $8 billion in back-pay claims, after a landmark ruling by the Federal Court on Wednesday.

The decision means regular, ongoing casuals will be able to access paid annual leave, paid personal/carer’s leave and paid compassionate leave, and employers cannot claim that 25 per cent pay loadings offset those entitlements.

The ruling in Workpac v Rossato has effectively pulled the pin on the ‘permanent casual’ work model, and means any regular work that is permanent in nature is not genuinely casual, and therefore attracts the same entitlements as permanent staff.

This is a fantastic decision that puts an end to the ‘permanent casual’ rort that has become a scourge in the coal mining industry and across the workforce,” the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union national president Tony Maher said.

It’s a decision that passes the pub test on what it means to be a casual and is consistent with community expectations that casual work is irregular and intermittent.”

Maher called on employers to “stop the nonsense”, and start treating casual employees on permanent hours as if they were permanent.

When a job is full-time, regular and on-going, it is permanent and deserves the security and entitlements that come with permanent work,” Maher said.

Our union has worked hard to clarify the law with this decision and we will now be fighting to restore rights and lost pay for casual labour hire workers across the coal mining industry who have been illegally ripped off.”…….

Industrial relations minister Christian Porter said the decision would have “immediate practical implications for the bottom line of many Australians businesses at a time when so many have taken a huge hit from the Covid-19 pandemic”.

In fact, employers estimate between 1.6 and 2.2 million casuals will be affected, with a back-pay bill of around $8 billion looming.

Porter also flagged a potential appeal….

"Given the potential for this decision to further weaken the economy at a time when so many Australians have lost their jobs, it may also be necessary to consider legislative options."


Monday, 11 March 2019

If as an ordinary worker you feel like you have been financially marching backwards for the last five and a half years then you probably have


“Backing business generates higher wages, jobs & growth.”  [Australian Treasurer & Liberal MP for Kooyong Josh Frydenberg, Twitter, 8 March 2019]

Such a confident quote from a Coalition Treasurer in campaign mode - but is it true?

According to the Dept. of Prime Minister & Cabinet/ASIC at the end of the period 30 July 2013 to 31 June 2014, there were est.2.6 million actively trading businesses in Australia and, according to the ABS by the end of  2017-18 there were 2.3 million actively trading businesses in the market sector in Australia.

Despite the Morrison Government alleging that by November 2018 it had created 1.2 million more jobs since September 2013, it's easy enough to see that in January 2019 the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was only 0.6% lower than it was when the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Coalition Government came to power in September 2013.

Additionally, it would appear that the ratio of unemployed persons to job vacancies in late 2013 was est. 20 unemployed individuals for very 1 job vacancy and by December 2018 this stood at an est. 15.57 unemployed individuals for every 1 job vacancy.

So what about wages growth?

The Global Financial Crisis ran from 2007 to 2008 and Australia came through this crisis relatively unscathed.

So with little structural damage to our financial institutions or the industry & business sectors, the national economy should be chugging along nicely.

By now ordinary workers should be reaping the rewards for their productivity - as labour input to market sector multifactor productivity increased by 3.0% overall on quality adjusted hours worked basis in 2017-18 (while capital input only grew by 2.0%).

The biggest labor input increases occurred in Administrative and Support Services (8.2%), Manufacturing (3.8%), Accommodation and Food Services (3.7%), and Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (3.7%).

However, this is what each Australian's nominal slice of the economic pie looked like by December 2018......




According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in the December Quarter 2018; Compensation of employees increased by 0.9% nationally. 

In the Australian Capital Territory  the compensation increase was 2.1%, in Tasmania 1.6%, Queensland 1.5%, Victoria 1.4%, New South Wales 0.7%, and South Australia 0.1%. However compensation growth went backwards in Western Australia at -0.2% and Northern Territory -0.7%.

Also according to the ABS; The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.5 per cent in the December quarter 2018 This followed a rise of 0.4 per cent in the September quarter, a rise of 0.4% in the June quarter and a 0.4% rise in the March quarter 2018.

It doesn't take a genius to see that nationally the effect of that December national compensation increase was actually 0.9% minus 0.5% CPI equalling 0.4% when it came to how far those few dollars in wage increase would stretch the weekly pay packet.

Why is low wages growth occurring? Well according to the Minister for Finance and the Public Service & Liberal Senator for Western Australia Mathias Cormann it is deliberate Morrison Government policy to suppress wages growth.
The result of this ongoing wages suppression? A continuation of the downward progression of disposable income and rising household debt, as illustrated in this graph from 2015 onwards.
ABC News, 9 September 2018



BACKGROUND

 Business Insider, 4 March 2019:

The ABS on Monday (4 March) released its Business Indicators results for December 2018, which showed trend growth in company gross operating profits at a healthy 9.6 per cent over the year to the December quarter.

Seasonally adjusted, that figure was even higher, hitting double digits at 10.5 per cent.

The figures were boosted by a strong performance that quarter, with trend growth up by 0.9 of a percentage point on the September quarter, or by 0.8 of a percentage point when seasonally adjusted.

The New Daily, 7 March 2019:

Chief executives and chief financial officers don’t get bonuses for increasing their companies’ labour costs – so they try not to.

Chairpersons and boards are not clapped on their collective back by institutional investors for devoting a greater share of revenue to wages – so they don’t.

And the cumulative effect of those simple realities is now unavoidable: Years of real, take-home wages going backwards while corporate profits increased, have meant household consumption is stalling and taking the economy with it.

Yet such is the myopic nature of corporate focus, business leaders react with horror to the idea that employees need a bigger share of the pie.

The business lobby claims wage increases aren’t possible without productivity trade-offs – but that’s after the productivity increases of recent years going overwhelmingly to higher profits.

Quite simply, the key business lobby groups have little credibility. They claimed reducing penalty rates would increase employment – it didn’t. They claimed cutting company tax would increase wages: It hasn’t and it won’t.

Household consumption accounts for more than half of the economy. According to the ABS, and nicely reported by Greg Jericho with helpful graphs, real household disposable income per capita has fallen back to where it was in 2010.

“Average compensation per employee” grew by only 1.5 per cent in 2018 – an even worse result than the better-publicised ABS wages index.

It’s only population growth that’s providing what little retail sales and GDP growth we have….

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) increased the minimum wage by 3.5 per cent last July – against the arguments of the business lobby – and by 3.3 per cent in July 2017. 

That increase of 6.8 per cent barely registered on the various measures of wages growth.

The conundrum of business needing consumers to have income growth, but 
not wanting to pay workers more, is a little like the “Paradox of Thrift” – it makes sense for an individual in uncertain times to save and not spend as much, but if everyone does it, uncertain times turn into bad times.

As argued here previously, business is holding a very determined wages strike. 

Corporate leaders don’t need FWC permission to do it, they just have to hang together to keep a lid on wage rises. In the process, they’re shooting themselves in the foot.

For the Coalition government, the result is a record of economic failure.

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Tweets of the Week



Note: Cr Keith Williams is deputy mayor of Ballina Shire Council on the NSW Far North Coast.


Friday, 18 May 2018

Federal Circuit Court on Thursday sentenced Trek North Tours owner operator to 12 months' prison and fined him $67,000


Leigh Alan Jorgensen, Financial Review, 13 May 2018

In the continuing matter of A.C.N. 156 455 828 Pty Ltd & Anor.

Fair Work Ombudsman, media release, 14 May 2018:


Jail term imposed in Fair Work Ombudsman’s first contempt of court case

A Northern Queensland business operator has been jailed – and then released pending the outcome of his appeal – as a result of the Fair Work Ombudsman’s first contempt-of-court action.

On Thursday May 10, the Federal Circuit Court sentenced Leigh Alan Jorgensen - the owner-operator of a Cairns company trading as Trek North Tours – to a 12-month jail term and fined him $84,956 for committing contempt of court by contravening a freezing order that applied to funds in his company’s accounts.

The Court ordered that Jorgensen’s jail term be suspended after he had spent 10 days in jail on the condition of payment of the fine.

Jorgensen sought an urgent stay of the orders in the Federal Court and lodged an appeal against his conviction and sentence. In accordance with her model litigant obligations, the Fair Work Ombudsman agreed to the stay on conditions. On May 11, the Federal Court ordered that his sentence be stayed and Jorgensen be released from jail on conditions, pending the outcome of his appeal.

A Court date has not yet been set for the appeal hearing but an order has been made that it be expedited.

The matter is the first time the Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced a contempt of court action and the first time a jail term has been imposed as a result of the Agency’s actions.

Judge Salvatore Vasta imposed the jail term after finding Jorgensen had committed contempt of court when he contravened a freezing order the Fair Work Ombudsman secured against his company in 2015. 

Freezing orders were imposed in the Federal Circuit Court in 2015 preventing any dispersion of Jorgensen’s and his company’s assets until such time as they complied with penalty and back-payment orders resulting from the Fair Work Ombudsman taking legal action against them for underpaying five back-packers on 417 working holiday visas in 2013 and 2014.

The relevant orders from that legal action, imposed by the Federal Circuit Court in June 2015, were for Jorgensen to pay a $12,000 penalty and his company to pay a $55,000 penalty and back-pay the backpackers in full, all by 17 July, 2015.

The Fair Work Ombudsman took the step of securing freezing orders against both Jorgensen and his company after both failed to pay the amounts owed by the due date and receiving information that gave rise to concerns that Jorgensen would divert company assets to avoid payment of the penalties and back-pay.

At the time, Jorgensen’s communications with the Fair Work Ombudsman suggested he was prepared to ‘bankrupt’ his company to avoid paying the penalties and back-pay order.

Jorgensen had also previously told Fair Work inspectors investigating the underpayments that the backpackers ‘would not get a cent’ in back-pay.

After the freezing orders were imposed, Jorgensen paid the penalty imposed on him personally into Court, resulting in the freezing order against him being lifted.
However, Jorgensen’s company failed to pay its penalty and failed to back-pay the workers, resulting in the freezing order against his company remaining in place.

The Fair Work Ombudsman commenced legal action against Jorgensen for contempt of Court last year, alleging that Jorgensen committed the offence of contempt of court in August 2015 when he contravened the freezing order against his company by transferring a total of $41,035 from two frozen accounts into his family trust account.
Judge Vasta found that the Fair Work Ombudsman had presented evidence to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Jorgensen committed the offence.

Pending the outcome of his appeal, the Federal Court has released Jorgensen on conditions including that he surrender his passport, remain in Queensland and report to Police twice a week.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says that the commencement of these proceedings demonstrates that her Agency is prepared to use every tool at its disposal to ensure justice is served.

“We will use every lever open to us to ensure the integrity of the administration of justice and compliance with court orders imposed under the Fair Work Act 2009.
“This includes taking unprecedented new actions available to us across the legal framework such as this one.”

BACKGROUND

Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), media release, 6 February 2017:

17-023MR Former company director charged with making false or misleading statements

Former company director Leigh Alan Jorgensen, of Cairns, Queensland, has been charged with making a false or misleading statement to ASIC.

In February 2016, Mr Jorgensen lodged with ASIC a Form 6010 to voluntarily deregister A.C.N 156 455 828 Pty Ltd (ACN 156 455 828), in which ASIC alleges that Mr Jorgensen falsely and misleadingly claimed the company had no outstanding liabilities. At the time, ACN 156 455 828 had an outstanding liability owing to the Commonwealth and Mr Jorgensen was the sole director.

The charge was brought against Mr Jorgensen following an ASIC investigation into his conduct as a director of the company.

Mr Jorgensen is due to appear at the Cairns Magistrates Court on 21 March 2017.
The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions is prosecuting the matter.

Background

The matter was brought to ASIC's attention by the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO), who initiated legal proceedings against Mr Jorgensen and ACN 156 455 828 for unpaid employee entitlements. The FWO obtained judgement against ACN 156 455 828 which, in part, required the company to pay the Commonwealth a pecuniary penalty of $55,000. The order was obtained by the FWO before Mr Jorgensen lodged the Form 6010 to deregister ACN 156 455 828.

As a result of ASIC's investigation, Mr Jorgensen has been charged with contravening section 1308(2) of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).

Mr Jorgensen ceased as a director of ACN 156 455 828 on 1 March 2016. A Liquidator was appointed to ACN 156 455 828 on 29 July 2016.

Editor's note 1:
Following a hearing at the Cairns Magistrates' Court on 21 March 2017, the matter was adjourned for further mention until 16 May 2017.
Editor's note 2:
Following a hearing at the Cairns Magistrates Court on 16 May 2017, the matter was adjourned for further mention on 27 June 2017.
Editor's note 3:
Following a hearing at the Cairns Magistrates Court on  27 June 2017, the matter was adjourned for further mention on 25 July 2017.
Editor's note 4:
Following a hearing at the Cairns Magistrates Court on  25 July 2017, the matter was adjourned for further mention on 22 August 2017.
Editor's note 5:
Following a hearing at the Cairns Magistrates Court on  22 August 2017, the matter was adjourned to 5 September 2017.
Editor's note 6:
Following a hearing at the Cairns Magistrates Court on  7 September 2017, the matter was adjourned for further mention on 19 September 2017. 
Editor's note 7:  
A warrant was issued for Mr Jorgensen following his failure to attend the Cairns Magistrates Court on 19 September 2017.
Editor's note 8:
Following a hearing at the Cairns Magistrates Court on  27 September 2017, the matter was adjourned to 3 October 2017.
Editor's note 9:
Following a hearing at the Cairns Magistrates Court on 3 October 2017, the matter was set down for a committal hearing on 24 November 2017.
Editor's note 10:
Following a hearing at the Cairns Magistrates Court on 24 November 2017, the matter was adjourned to 13 February 2018.