17 Nov 2014

Paying for Contractor Compliance

A reader contacted me at deadline with this cracker tale. It seems some venues are now outsourcing compliance. Enter the new era, with Smartek. This is fully owned by Barrington Group Australia (Barringtons) and has its roots in a standalone computer system going back to the mid 1990s. One of the first major instances of its use was in the security covering construction of the Sydney Olympic Stadium.

So far so good. CX is all for venues using state of the art technology.

The sting in the tail, is that the venue concerned have decided, possibly at the suggestion of Barringtons, to push the compliance cost onto the contractors.


The contractor who called me was not happy.

“What gets my goat is being expected to PAY MONEY for the privilege of possibly working for someone. I’ve done site specific OHS training for some of our clients and I respect that. I’ve done it on my own time, online, and I collect my passport at security, do the work required and return the passport when I leave site. This is a good system to ensure they know who is on site and that I know what I’m  doing but it didn’t require a cheque book!”

“The other thing I struggle with about this request is a third party business “collecting, managing and analysing unique compliance data” about me. How do I know how this data will be “managed”? Can it be shared with other clients of theirs? Will it be used against me for the issuing of tenders or for any other purpose?”


The venue letter required our contractor mate to cough up $400 AND log in, AND commence the process WITHIN 5 DAYS. The clear inference was that if not done, there would be no more work from said venue.

To be fair to Barringtons, they do discount the fee to $200 if you are a sole trader but wow – if I were a contracted lighting operator, I wouldn’t want to pay $200 and go through the same hoops as a company.

Allied with this, obtaining an Australian Business Number from the ATO has just become way harder. We applaud this, as sham contracting is where someone who should be hired as a casual is told to get an ABN and write an invoice. It seems those days are over.


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