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Clothing industry outworkers awareness campaign

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Clothing manufacturing businesses in Springvale, Victoria, will be visited from next week as part of a campaign to promote the safety and rights of outworkers.

The Minister for WorkCover, John Lenders, said officers from WorkSafe and Industrial Relations Victoria would visit businesses in the week beginning December 12.

Mr Lenders said outworkers in the clothing industry were among the most vulnerable members of our community.

"They are mostly migrant women from non-English speaking backgrounds, and they often earn wages as low as $3.60 an hour.

"They can work long hours in unsafe work conditions, and suffer chronic underpayment or non-payment of wages," Mr Lenders said.

"The Victorian Government is committed to providing fairness and safety for outworkers in the clothing industry.

"By law outworkers must receive minimum award entitlements for the work they do and they must have a safe work environment."

WorkSafe inspectors will inquire about measures to ensure outworkers are working in a safe environment. IRV inspectors will ask to see business records relating to wages and conditions for outworkers.

"Inspectors will be able to answer questions and provide information to help businesses meet their responsibilities for the outworkers they engage," Mr Lenders said.

For information about workplace safety and workers' compensation and rehabilitation, call WorkSafe on 1800 136 089 or visit WorkSafe Victoria's website at www.worksafe.vic.gov.au.

For details about outworkers' work entitlements, telephone 1800 287 287 or go to Industrial Relation's Victoria's website at www.business.vic.gov.au.

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