Consultation opens for Victoria's future gig economy plans

The next phase of the Victorian government's inquiry into the on-demand workforce.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

The Victorian government said it wants to hear from on-demand workers, businesses, and Victorians who use digital platforms for goods and services as part of its inquiry into the on-demand workforce.

"The consultation period is about Victorians providing their views on these recommendations, as the government considers its response," the government said.

It follows on from the state government releasing a report into the inquiry that put forward a total of 20 recommendations designed to improve protection for on-demand workers.

One of those recommendations included a call for the federal government to get involved and ensure existing tests, remedies, and work standards are revised to improve certainty, choice, and conduct for gig economy workers.

If the federal government does not act, the report recommended for Victoria to take the lead and collaborate with other states to develop administrative and legislative options that would improve choice, fairness, and certainty for gig economy workers.

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The inquiry also uncovered how platforms have been deliberate in framing their arrangements with workers to avoid complying with workplace laws and paying associated costs. 

The inquiry was launched back in September 2018 to specifically examine the treatment of workers and how they are remunerated. It was chaired by former Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James, and commissioned by the Victorian government in 2018 following widespread concern over the wages and conditions offered to workers in the gig economy.  

In June, research commissioned by the state government revealed that more than 30% of respondents -- who were gig economy workers -- did not know whether their platform had a dispute resolution process, while nearly half of the surveyed gig economy workers reported that their platform did not provide work-related insurance.

The Digital Platform Work in Australia: Prevalence, Nature and Impact report [PDF] also revealed the five most common platforms used by Australians to undertake work have been Airtasker, Uber, Freelancer, Uber Eats, and Deliveroo.

It indicated that 7.1% of survey respondents worked through a digital platform or had done so in the previous 12 months.

The submissions deadline for the consultation period is October 13. 


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