Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Australian Window Cleaners Tied Up In Red Tape

Frustrated: Business owner & window cleaner Selwyn Jones says burdensome legal requirements are harming his small business and others like it.
Contractors struggle with red tape: "Tradies" and other contractors are struggling to cope with requirements to pay for separate registration processes on work safety inductions for each of the hundreds of sites they cover. Window washer Selwyn Jones, of C-Thru Window Cleaning, said he had to submit dozens of pages of paperwork and fees of up to hundreds of dollars for each of his employees at each site they attended.

"I spend most of my time doing inductions because every company has its own course and its own individual requirements," he said. "Every petrol station, every bank, every nursing home, they all have their own inductions, and companies are now charging us to do their induction courses." A nursing home whose windows he had cleaned since it was built had charged him $49.50 for a site induction, he said, and a major retail store had asked for $800 for the right to clean its windows for two years.

Ideally, he said, there would be an industry-wide accreditation scheme similar to the construction industry's white card. "There has got to be somewhere you can go to get your orange card without all these inductions, all these requirements," he said. "It's not about window cleaning; it's about killing small business with red tape and bookwork."

He also mentioned the costs of WorkCover and police clearances as imposts on small business. Member for Hammond Adrian Pederick said such issues were on his radar, and on the small business commissioner's as well. "He believes the codes under workplace health and safety need review, and that's the position of the Liberal Party," he said. "I certainly think there's space there to have a card that lets them visit similar sites over a period of time."

Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced last week Federal Parliament would hold a "red tape repeal day" within the month to remove more than 9000 individual regulations in an effort to save businesses $1 billion per year. "As Sir Robert Menzies once said, "we want less forms and more reforms"," he said. "We are doing this to make your life easier and our economy stronger."

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