$20,641 was recovered for 30 workers from 10 businesses in Outback South Queensland.
$20,641 was recovered for 30 workers from 10 businesses in Outback South Queensland. Contributed

Workers ripped off in Central Queensland towns

WORKERS in two Central Queensland towns have been ripped off, according to Fair Work Ombudsman audits of 600 workplaces in remote and regional Australia.

The audits have so far recovered $191,125 for 268 workers.

There were 55 businesses audited in outback south Queensland, which included Longreach and Barcaldine, as part of the Fair Work Ombudsman's National Remote and Regional Locations campaign.

Of these businesses, 64 per cent were fully compliant with workplace laws, 85 per cent were compliant with record-keeping and payslip requirements, and 75per cent were paying workers correctly.

A total of $20,641 was recovered for 30 workers from 10 businesses in the region. Individual back-payments ranged from $60 to $6207.

More than 60 per cent of businesses audited in this campaign were fully compliant with workplace laws. Inspectors found 80 per cent of employers complied with payslip and record-keeping obligations and 76 per cent were paying their employees correctly.

Most workplace breaches discovered related to underpayment of hourly rates and failure to meet payslip requirements. The FWO issued 45 formal cautions, 14 infringement notices and nine compliance notices to correct these breaches and improve future compliance.

Acting Fair Work Ombudsman Kristen Hannah said the workplace visits enabled inspectors to engage with employers and employees who might not otherwise seek help.

"Employees in smaller communities may be reluctant to raise workplace concerns where employment options may be limited,” she said.

"As a result of our workplace audits, tens of thousands of dollars have been put back in the pockets of workers in remote and regional Australian towns.

"All businesses have the same responsibility to comply with their workplace obligations if they choose to employ workers, regardless of location.

"The Fair Work Ombudsman is available to provide free advice and assistance to employers and employees and to help resolve workplace issues quickly so employment relationships can stay intact.”