News

New work laws hit fashion industry

Joanne Rapa is concerned about the new government workplace regulations.
Joanne Rapa is concerned about the new government workplace regulations. Blainey Woodham

NORTH Coast fashion designers are worried changes to workplace laws could cripple the local industry and force jobs offshore.

The Textile, Clothing and Footwear Industry Bill 2011 was created to protect outworkers and sweatshop workers from exploitation, but Byron Bay designer Joanne Rapa said the changes will make it difficult for her to hire a local seamstress and cutter through her label Myrtle and Dove.

Ms Rapa said under the changes she must now engage contractors as employees and provide them 20 hours a week of work.

"I give the cutter 30 garments which takes him two hours to cut, so for me to give him 20 hours work is just not possible, especially as a start-up business," Ms Rapa said.

Sean Watson, the co-owner of eco-fashion label Pure Pod, said he's unsure if his home-based business in Lennox Head can still hire contract machinists.

"The government has decided these people don't have the right to run a business from their homes so if we use them we could be landed with some pretty hefty fines," Mr Watson said.

A Facebook page called Save the Australian Fashion Industry has been launched to highlight the issue.

A spokesperson for the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) said the changes provide protection for "some of Australia's most hard-working and vulnerable workers".

"The amendments do not unfairly target individual contractors working from home," the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said the changes give textile, clothing and footwear workers the same entitlements and protections as factory workers.

"Only those that flout existing laws by exploiting outworkers, by forcing them to work in sweatshop conditions and by taking advantage of the vulnerable, should be concerned," the spokesperson said.

But Mr Watson said the local fashion industry has "been tarred" by the efforts to target sweatshops.

"It's pushing small business overseas," he said.

 

Is there enough support for Australian fashion? Leave a comment below or SMS 0428 264 948. 

Topics:  fashion designers, north coast




Join the Community.

Get your local news, your way.

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Elderly man lucky to be rescued from 30 metre fall

Emergency services rescue a 91 year old man who fell down a ditch while mowing his lawn.

Elderly man rescued from embankment

Images show impact of Vanuatu quake

The aftermath of the quake. Photo / Facebook page of Vanuatu Daily Post

The quake struck 31km east of Lakatoro and was at a depth of 10km.

Police warn users - leaf it alone at Mardigrass

Police are warning people about smoking at Mardigrass. Photo: Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune via AP

POLICE will be conducting a high-visibility operation

Latest deals and offers

British family bashed in Thailand

Family beaten and kicked unconscious by gang in Thailand.

Family beaten and kicked unconscious by gang in Thailand.

Ben Hunt wary of Sharks Halfback

Ben Hunt of the Broncos looks to pass during the round 23 NRL match between the Brisbane Broncos and the St George Illawarra Dragons at Suncorp Stadium.

Ben Hunt talks about Cronulla's Chad Townsend.

Logan Wilson

Lismore 21-year-old Logan Wilson talks about life without a job and his journey to...

How a sacked real estate agent made $725k in four months

Agent is now under investigation by the industry watchdog

10 ‘must-see’ open homes on the Northern Rivers this weekend

McGrath Ballina have listed this home at 19 Stonehenge Place, Lennox Head.

Looking for a new home? Then check out this list.

VIDEO: Art Deco fan pays $835,000 for Imperial Hotel

No Caption

Iconic "Impy" sold at a bargan price to bidder who loves Art Deco.