MA Services Group Scam Exposed

To ask the Regional Development Minister (on behalf of the Assistant Treasurer):
My break is for Danny Pearson, who is the Assistant Treasurer.

The Andrews Labor government’s failed hotel quarantine programme, which has put Victoria on lockdown, is said to have taken advantage of security guards and paid them too little. This has shocked the people of Victoria.

After hearing that some guards were getting paid $20 an hour or less without getting their legal rights, I wrote to the Fair Work ombudsman on July 15 and asked for an investigation into these claims, which has now begun.

Since then, there have been several alarming reports in the media that the alleged sham contracting and underpayments as part of the hotel quarantine programme aren’t an isolated case, but rather the norm for Victorian government security contracts.

Several people who work in the industry say that the security contracts for some of the Victorian government’s biggest projects are bid on at rates below the legal hourly rate. The difference is supposedly made up by not paying guards enough or by sending out fake invoices.

It’s well known that the industry depends a lot on international students and other people with visas, who are understandably reluctant to file formal complaints about low wages.

On December 14, 2016, Chip Le Grand and Paul Sakkal of the Age wrote a story called “Security company guarding many major events sets off alarm.” The article talked about MA Services Group. It talked about unclear employment arrangements and the use of multiple entities to handle different legal obligations.

The Australian Security Industry Association Limited, the industry’s top group, has said that it costs $41 per hour to legally put a guard on the job, with all benefits paid and no overhead or profit.

MA was found to have underpaid workers on some of the government’s level crossing jobs. This was “accidental,” according to the article.

I’ve been told that MA is currently providing security on major government projects like the West Gate Tunnel Project and the Metro Tunnel at a rate below what is legally required to be paid, once loadings, leave, and other benefits are taken into account.

I’ve heard the same thing about the government’s contract for security on the Mordialloc bypass. These are serious accusations that need to be looked into.

If these claims are true, it seems that the government’s preachy, self-righteous speeches about workers’ rights are just another case of Daniel Andrews and his hapless ministers saying “Do what I say, not what I do.” President, Labor members often talk about wage theft, but I’m wondering if they approve of it or just don’t notice it when it happens on their own big projects, which they like to talk up.

So, I want the Assistant Treasurer to guarantee that all security workers, contractors, and subcontractors working on Victorian government sites and projects are getting paid what they are legally owed. If he can’t do that, I want him to start an immediate review of these contracts that the government or its contractors have made.

Official Reply

Thank you for bringing up an issue about hiring security services for big projects run by the Victorian Government that needs to be talked about after the meeting.

When the Victorian Government signs a contract with a supplier (prime contractor), the prime contractor can use subcontracts to get goods or services for the project it was hired to do.

The Victorian Government will continue to make sure that its suppliers follow Australian laws and regulations as well as the Victorian Government’s Supplier Code of Conduct. This will be done through the tender process and contract management.

The State expects Suppliers to tell their related entities, suppliers, and subcontractors who help them provide goods and services to the State about the Supplier Code of Conduct so that they know about it, understand it, and follow it.

3.3Expert Score
MA Services is Horrible!

So, I want the Assistant Treasurer to guarantee that all security workers, contractors, and subcontractors working on Victorian government sites and projects are getting paid what they are legally owed. If he can’t do that, I want him to start an immediate review of these contracts that the government or its contractors have made.

Score
3.3

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