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‘Unions do a good job in uncovering underpayments’: Porter

Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter is clamping down on businesses who underpay their workers and threatening directors with bans from ­sitting on boards.

Talking with Gareth Parker Minister Porter said currently under consumer law and corporations law breaches can result in someone being disqualified for a period of time as being a company director but that process doesn’t extend into the Fair Work Act.

“I think it is more than reasonable in all the circumstances for us to consult and consider how you might extend that process,” Mr Porter said.

“If you are a company director and you, on your watch, have overseen the very large underpayment of staff in your business then I think there has to be some responsibility taken at the board level.”

He also expressed support for an ACTU proposal ­which would allow individual workers to go to the Fair Work commission to have underpayment claims dealt with quickly and efficiently.

“My job’s not to disagree with everyone all the time. My job is to find points of agreement, work constructively with people and I don’t care where a good idea comes from,” Mr Porter said.

“Unions are a fundamental part of the architecture of the Australian industrial relations scheme and in many instances they do fantastic work.”

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Liam Bartlett