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  Issue No 106 Official Organ of LaborNet 10 August 2001  

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News

Builders' Bucks: Payroll Tax Evasion Rife


Payroll tax evasion is rife in the building industry with millions of dollars of state revenue being lost because the Carr Government refuses to tighten the laws, the CFMEU has warned.

CFMEU state secretary Andrew Ferguson says the problem arises because the major contractor on a building site has no responsibility for behaviour of smaller sub-contractors - who are notorious for evading their obligations.

Ferguson says the current system encourages principal contractors to engage shonky contractors because they are cheaper, thanks to avoiding total tax requirements of 46 per cent (six per cent payroll, 10 per cent workers comp and 30 per cent group tax).

He has asked the Labor Council to seek the Premier's intervention after failing to convince Treasurer Michael Egan to take steps to toughen the laws.

"The law should require a principal contractor to ensure that sub-contract companies they engage are registered for payroll tax," Ferguson says. "This same requirement should extend to group tax and workers compensation.

Ferguson says this should be backed by sanctions - such as the liability for unpaid taxes being placed on the principal contractor.

"If this requirement is introduced we will reverse the current incentive which is driving non-compliance," he says.

Sick Tax System

The CFMEU has numerous examples of payroll tax evasion. On the DPWS Campbelltown Hospital project built be Multiplex, contractor Emerson was engaged to do the formwork.

Ferguson says the director of Emerson, Greg Harkin, had been associated with numerous failed companies that had left behind millions of dollars on each occasion in unpaid group tax, workers compensation premiums and payroll taxes. Millions more had been owing to small businesses for work undertaken.

"We have members, many of whom worked on the Campbelltown site owed $750,000 in lost wages, holiday pay and other accrued entitlements," Ferguson says

"This situation is incomprehensible and reflects poorly not only on the industry but the incompetence of the State government authorities," he says.


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*   Issue 106 contents

In this issue
Features
*  Interview: In Exile
Burmese's government in exile's Minister for Justice U Thein Oo talks about a struggle for democracy that has become a test of international solidarity.
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*  Politics: A National Disgrace
Labor's IR spokesman Arch Bevis gives his take on the workers entitlements issue and its mismanagement by the Howard Government.
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*  E-Change: 2.2 The Information Organisation
Peter Lewis and Michael Gadiel look at how network technologies will change the way organizations operate in the Information Age.
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*  Media: The Fine Print
Mark Hebblewhite looks at how the major dailies handled the Tri-Star dispute and finds that the story really does depend on the telling.
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*  Human Rights: A People Besieged
Labor MLC Janelle Saffin, an active supporter of the pro-Democracy movement in Burma, sets out the issues behind the ILO sanctions.
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*  International: Postcard From Brazil
The CFMEU’s Phil Davey reports on a rural movement that puts our National Farmers Federation to shame.
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*  History: Indonesia Calling
They needed no resolutions. Soldiers and workers who did not know one another moved together, the black ban started to reach out across the harbour from the noisy, smoke-filled room.
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*  Solidarity: On the Frontline
Australian trade unionists are providing practical help for the Burmese through projects funded by APHEDA-Union Aid Abroad.
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*  Satire: Skase 'Too Ill' to Fly Home for Burial
Spanish authorities have deemed Christopher Skase too ill to return to Australia for his own funeral.
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*  Review: Living Silence
In these extracts from her new book, Christina Fink goes inside Burma to find a world where military repression is slowly crushing a people.
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News
»  Revealed: ABC Censors Industrial Reporting
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»  WorkCover Revisited – Public Sector Laws Rammed Through
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»  Bras First in Burma Boycotts
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»  Tri Star Only the Start of Entitlements Push
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»  New Spying Tactics Hit Work Cars
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»  Howard’s Secret Anti-Worker Plans
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»  Direct Action to Increase Nurses' Worth
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»  High Court: Courier Was Employee
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»  Victory for Academic Freedom
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»  Put A Stop To Acoustic Shock
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»  Builders' Bucks: Payroll Tax Evasion Rife
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»  Tassie Workers Brew Up a Storm
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»  HIH Collapse Hits Arts Industry
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»  Labour for Hire Not Entitlements
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»  Rail Inquiry Into Treatment of Homeless
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»  ACTU Awards To Reward Union Excellence
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»  Activist Notebook
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Columns
»  The Soapbox
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»  The Locker Room
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»  Trades Hall
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»  The Soapbox
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Letters to the editor
»  Botsman Goes Crosby
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»  Left Right Out
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»  Belly's Shout
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»  Ode to the New Serfs
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