When the report of the inquiry into the Victorian on-demand workforce was released, it didn’t get the attention it deserved, as the state grappled with the escalating COVID-19 outbreak in Melbourne.
This was the first full-scale government inquiry into gig or platform work in Australia. Inquiry chairwoman Natalie James has tackled head-on the problem at the core of the gig economy: work status, and therefore access to protective employment regulation, is generally controlled by the platforms.
The inquiry found that platforms exercise significant levels of discretion and control over how gig work is organised and there is no independent oversight. This presents challenges to Australia’s system of labour regulation and uncertainty about which laws apply to gig workers.