The Australian Government today introduced to Parliament a new Independent Contractors Bill to enshrine and protect the status of independent contractors and encourage independent contracting as a wholly legitimate form of work. This delivers on a key 2004 election commitment. This is about the right of all Australians to choose to work for themselves - the right to be their own boss. Under the Bill, the freedom to operate as a genuine independent contractor will now be protected from inappropriate limits and constraints on the freedom to contract. An efficient modern economy should have a dynamic mix of working arrangements with the flexibility to respond to the changing demands of clients, consumers and competitors. Independent contractors are an important part of this mix. The existing regulation of genuine independent contracting across many of the states is a regulation of entrepreneurship. Genuine independent contractors have taken the initiative to establish themselves as businesspeople. They are not employees and should not be considered by industrial relations law to be employees. That is why the Government has introduced the Independent Contractors Bill to, amongst other things, protect the freedom to operate as a genuine independent contractor. The Independent Contractors Bill 2006 will: - for the first time, recognise and protect the unique position of independent contractors in the Australian workplace; - enshrine the freedom of independent contractors to enter into arrangements that are primarily commercial relationships, free from prescriptive industrial relations regulation; - deliver on the Government's commitment to ensuring that independent contracting is encouraged without excessive regulation; and - be built on the principle- a principle the Government believes in - that genuine independent contracting relationships should be governed by commercial not industrial law.
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