Media release

Profits ahead of safety yet again - subcontractors with minimal training guarding Melbourne quarantine hotels

Sydney, July 2, 2020: The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) is calling on investors and companies to urgently review the use of subcontractors in high risk, front line sectors during the pandemic after reports that security guards at Melbourne’s “hot” quarantine hotels received minimal training and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). One guard has said this morning he was only given five minutes of training and only one set of protective equipment per day.

Dr Katie Hepworth, Director of Workers’ Rights at ACCR said:

“The failure to provide proper training and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to subcontractors is common practice.

“It is the result of years of outsourcing in the security industry, that has seen the hollowing out of wages and conditions, and seen experienced workers locked out of the industry in favour of inexperienced, lower paid workers.

“The Melbourne quarantine clusters highlight the broken chains of responsibility for worker and community safety.

“This short-term profiteering puts the whole community at risk - and has major implications for the economy as we are seeing a secondary lockdown.”

In May 2020, ACCR released a report on Labour Hire and Contracting across the ASX100. The report highlighted a number of increased risks associated with the use of labour hire and subcontracting arrangements - most significantly, poorer Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) outcomes.

Issues associated with subcontracting include:

  • Failure to provide proper OHS training
  • Precarious workers unable to raise concerns for fear of losing their jobs
  • Difficulties in passing information between subcontractors