Monday, 18 October 2010
Forrest Electorate: Tassell Park Wines
I rise to once again ask the government to respond to a situation facing a winery in my electorate of Forrest as a result of the Labor government’s award modernisation. Ian and Patricia Tassell of Tassell Park Wines, a winery in Margaret River, contacted my office several months ago desperately seeking clarification as to whether their winery business entity is covered under the new wine industry award. Tassell Park Wines’s legal entity is a trust that has a corporate as a trustee. While the winery understands that corporate entities are covered by the new wine industry award, it cannot find an explanation as to whether trusts with a corporate trustee are covered also.
The single question Tassell Park Wines would like answered is: if a trust has a company or a corporate trustee, does the trust come under the new wine industry award? In trying to get a simple answer for what is a simple question, Tassell Park Wines visited the Fair Work Australia website and also contacted the Western Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. I was—and still am—seriously disturbed to hear the response given by both of these entities. Neither of the entities was able to provide a definitive answer, and Tassell Park Wines was advised on both occasions to seek legal advice at its own expense, something that should not be necessary. Fair Work Australia should be able to give this company and this couple legal advice on their situation. The advice they were given was: go and get legal advice at your expense as to whether you are covered under this new award process.
It is shameful. Not surprisingly, Tassell Park Wines found this response not only astonishing but, in their words, increasingly frustrating, and frustrating now over a number of months. I just wonder whether this Labor government believes that it is acceptable for a small business to have to pay for legal advice for an answer as to whether or not they are covered under the government’s own new wine industry award as a result of the Prime Minister’s award modernisation process.
I have contacted the Prime Minister in her previous role. I have had three communications: one to the minister who was responsible, Minister Crean, and recently a further communication to Minister Evans. At this time, neither Patricia and Ian Tassell nor I have received a response. This has gone on long enough. I call on the government to contact Tassell Park Wines or me to advise them as to whether they are covered by the new wine industry award or not and give certainty to a small business that is getting on with their job. (Time expired)