Speeches by the Fair Work Ombudsman and senior staff

We deliver speeches at leading industrial relations conferences and events.

Find transcripts of speeches below.


9 July 2021 – Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA) Roundtable Meeting

In her address to the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia, Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker announced the regulator’s compliance and enforcement priorities for 2021-22.

In 2021-22, the Fair Work Ombudsman’s (FWO) main priority remains supporting workplaces as they recover from the impacts of COVID-19.

The FWO will retain the following priorities, where there is still work to be done:

  • Fast food, restaurants and cafes
  • Horticulture
  • Sham contracting
  • Large corporate underpayments
  • Franchise arrangements.

Ms Parker also confirmed the regulator’s enduring commitment to prioritising small business employers and employees, and vulnerable workers.

The Contract cleaning industry has been identified as a new priority due to a history of non-compliance, risks of exploitation, and an expected increase in demand for cleaning services as a result of new rules about COVID-19-safe cleaning practises.

Ms Parker noted that the priorities for the upcoming year are set against the background of the ongoing challenges posed by COVID-19 in many sectors and regions. Ms Parker also discussed the FWO’s enforcement posture and the free tools and resources available to support small businesses understand and comply with their workplace obligations.

Speech to Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA) Roundtable Meeting (DOCX 80KB) (PDF 233.6KB).

Media release: FWO announces 2021-22 priorities


17 October 2019 - Australian Human Resource Institute's New South Wales Employee Relations / Industrial Relations Network Forum

In her speech, Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker highlighted the integral role that Human Resource professionals play in ensuring the protection of workers, especially in dealing with ineffective governance - a common catalyst for non-compliance.

Reflecting on the increase in large organisations self-disclosing non-compliance to the Agency, the Fair Work Ombudsman stressed her concern that some companies are not showing the same diligence towards compliance with workplace laws as they do to making a profit.

She emphasised the importance of enforceable undertakings as a compliance tool, highlighting their effectiveness in rectifying past breaches and changing future behaviour, and reiterated that litigation is always an option for companies that do not comply with the terms of their undertaking.

3 June 2019 - Australian Industry Group PIR Conference

In her speech, Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker announced the regulator’s 2019-20 priorities and spoke about its strong approach to non-compliance.

In 2019-20, the FWO’s priority industries and issues are:

  • Fast food, restaurants and cafes
  • Horticulture and the harvest trail
  • Supply chain risks
  • Franchisors
  • Sham contracting.

In addition to its ongoing focus on vulnerable workers, these priorities will direct the agency’s compliance work and enforcement outcomes, and will be targeted in an effort to create sustainable behavioural change. Every year, the Fair Work Ombudsman will determine its priorities and align them with its program of proactive compliance and enforcement.

Ms Parker also outlined a stronger approach for the FWO to its use of enforcement tools, with a bigger role for compliance notices to address underpayment contraventions, and enforceable undertakings for businesses that self-report non-compliant behaviour.

You can read the full speech in the address to Australian Industry Group PIR Conference (DOCX 31KB) (PDF 584.4KB).

For speeches before 2019, see our Archived speeches page.

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