Thursday 20 June, 2019.
Mr NEWBURY (Brighton) (17:06):
My adjournment this evening is to the Minister for Industrial Relations, and the action I seek is an investigation into reported underpayment of staff entitlements.
This government often talks about protecting workers. For example, in 2018 the Premier said via press release:
Too many Victorians are being exploited by unscrupulous employers…
A re-elected Andrews Labor Government will make sure all Victorians get paid properly for the work they do and dodgy employers get more than a slap on the wrist…
I have been made aware of alleged underpayment of staff entitlements and set out the following scenario that warrants investigation.
Mr NEWBURY (Brighton) (17:06). My adjournment this evening is to the Minister for Industrial Relations, and the action I seek is an investigation into reported underpayment of staff entitlements.
A young man, from family wealth, set out into the world. He took with him a purse of money, gifted by his family. The young man set off to a regional town, where he decided to hang his hat. There he bought a historic pub for a tidy $1.6 million. The man was now a publican.
Business started well and the man invested a further $2 million, bringing his investment to a total of $3.6 million. The renovations modernised the pub, which I understand included 14 electronic gaming machines. I note that Members in this Parliament have spoken against what they describe as ‘regressive’ gaming machines.
As the young man would later say, the regional town was bolstered by the coal industry. Coal industry workers were the backbone of this young man’s business. But sadly for this young man, the coal industry waned. As he would later say:
…the changes to the coal industry… impacted our business…
Significant trading losses began to mount, and suddenly the pub locked its doors and the business went into receivership. The closure not only affected the township but also the six permanent staff and 10 casual workers.
Receivers FTI Consulting were appointed to manage the divestment. FTI reportedly said, and I quote:
…outstanding wages have been paid to staff but they were likely to miss out on any other employee entitlements.
Let me repeat that: staff were likely to miss out on any other employee entitlements.
Ray White real estate would later sell the pub for $1.5 million. The publican had lost over $2 million of family money.
I call on the Minister to abide by the Premier’s commitment to make sure all Victorians get properly paid and commence an investigation into the former publican, the new Member for Burwood, for reported underpayment of staff entitlements.
I look forward to the minister’s response, and, Speaker, I make available relevant public reports to the Minister and the House.