Tuesday, 23 February 2021
Workplace Relations: Food Delivery Industry, Mental Health Services
I seek leave to move motions 1020 and 1021 together, and that they be determined without amendment or debate.
Leave not granted.
That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent general business notice of motion nos 1020 and 1021 being moved together immediately and determined without amendment or debate.
At the request of Senators, Bilyk, Sheldon, Gallacher and Sterle, I move general business notices of motion Nos 1020 and 1021 together:
That the Senate—
(a) recognises that most food delivery riders are classified as contractors rather than employees, which denies them access to the following entitlements:
(i) award wages,
(iii) job security,
(iv) the right to bargain collectively for better wages and conditions,
(v) a voice on issues regarding workplace safety, and
(vi) workers' compensation if they are killed or injured at work;
(b) notes that five food delivery riders were killed on Australia's roads last year within a three-month period and conveys its condolences to their families;
(c) agrees that gig economy workers, such as food delivery riders, need access to minimum standards which give them better protection from exploitation and dangerous working conditions; and
(d) calls on the Australian Government to adopt a policy of extending the powers of the Fair Work Commission to include 'employee-like' forms of work as outlined in Labor's Secure Australian Jobs Plan.
GENERAL BUSINESS NOTICE OF MOTION NO. 1021
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) according to the Productivity Commission's inquiry into mental health, mental illness costs the economy up to $220 billion each year,
(ii) the report found that on average people attend 4.5 of the 10 Medicare-rebated sessions they are entitled to each year, but a vast majority of people attend one or two sessions,
(iii) as revealed at the last round of Senate Estimates, Mr Morrison received this report on 30 June 2020 – it wasn't until the October Budget that he acted upon this and doubled the Medicare rebated psychology sessions,
(iv) despite being a welcomed increase, the report identified a missing middle gap encountered by hundreds of thousands of Australians who cannot afford the expensive co-payments and are faced with waiting times of up to several months,
(v) these gaps in the system mean that too many people are not caught before they reach crisis point,
(vi) rather than implement the recommendations of the Productivity Commission's final report, the Government has established a House Select Committee on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention to review its findings instead; and
(b) urges the Government to improve access to mental health services as a priority and to not wait any longer because Australians are suffering.