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Australia: National & regional governments consider safety regulations for gig economy companies after fifth delivery driver death in two months

Five delivery drivers have died in accidents in Australia in the past two months, sparking a debate about regulating the gig economy at a time when it is enjoying a surge in demand following Covid-19 lockdowns.

The conservative government is resisting calls to force... app-based delivery companies to pay minimum wages and apply workplace safety standards... The [opposition Labor] party wants to establish an independent tribunal to set pay and conditions across the entire transport sector, including gig economy companies, to improve safety standards.

... Trade unions said the way technology companies structured their businesses meant they escaped the legal requirements to provide adequate training, protective gear and insurance cover to the mainly young foreigners who deliver food... The technology companies rejected the trade unions’ claims, insisting that health and safety of riders were a priority. But they warn that classifying contractors as employees — a move that would entail a minimum wage and workplace rules — would undermine consumer choice and cost jobs.