MA Services Group – Employee Abuse Reported


To request from the Minister of Regional Development (on behalf of the Assistant Treasurer):
My adjournment is for Danny Pearson, the Assistant Treasurer.

Victoria is now under lockdown due to the Andrews Labor government’s bungled hotel quarantine programme, which allegedly involved the exploitation and underpayment of security guards. The community in Victoria has been appalled by the allegations of exploitation and underpayment.

Following concerns that some guards were getting less than $20 per hour without statutory rights, I requested an inquiry into these claims in a letter to the Fair Work ombudsman on 15 July, which has already begun.

Since then, there have been a number of frightening media reports suggesting that the alleged sham contracting and underpayments in the hotel quarantine programme are not an isolated incident, but rather the standard for Victorian government security contracts.

Several industry insiders believe that several Victorian government significant projects’ security contracts are bid at rates below the authorised hourly rate, which is reportedly made up by underpaying guards or ghost invoicing.

It is common knowledge that the sector mainly relies on international students and other visa holders, who, for obvious reasons, are unwilling to file official complaints about salary underpayment.

On December 14, 2012, Chip Le Grand and Paul Sakkal of the Age published an article headed “Security company guarding numerous major events triggers alarm.” The article mentions MA Services Group and discusses opaque employment arrangements and the usage of several organisations to manage various legal duties.

According to the Australian Security Industry Association Limited, it costs $41 per hour to lawfully place a guard on the job with all entitlements paid and no overhead or profit.

MA was discovered to have inadvertently underpaid workers on some of the government’s level crossing projects.

When loadings, leave, and other entitlements are factored in, I’ve been informed that MA is providing security on key government projects such as the West Gate Tunnel Project and the Metro Tunnel at a cost below what is legally obliged to be paid.

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A similar complaint has been made to me regarding the government’s Mordialloc bypass security contract. These are really grave claims that require investigation.

If these charges are accurate, it would appear that the government’s pompous, self-righteous lectures about workers’ rights are another another instance of Daniel Andrews and his feckless ministers not doing what they preach. President, Labor members frequently discuss wage theft; yet, do they condone it or turn a blind eye on their own well publicised significant projects?

The action I am requesting from the Assistant Treasurer is that he provide a guarantee that all security workers, contractors, and subcontractors working on Victorian government sites and projects are paid what they are legally entitled to and, if he cannot provide such a guarantee, to initiate an immediate review of these contractual arrangements entered into by the government or its contractors.


Thank you for bringing a point of adjournment on the hiring of security services for significant government projects in Victoria.

When the Victorian Government employs a supplier (prime contractor) through a contract, the prime contractor may buy products or services (through subcontracts) for the project it is contracted to deliver.

Through tender procedures and contract management, the Victorian Government will continue to ensure that its suppliers comply with Australian laws and regulations, as well as the Victorian Government’s Supplier Code of Conduct.

The State requires Suppliers to convey the Supplier Code of Conduct to their associated businesses, suppliers, and subcontractors that assist them in providing products and services to the State, so that they are aware of, comprehend, and comply with the Supplier Code of Conduct.

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