Editorial August 8 2017

Ashleigh Mounser is right.

The University of Wollongong student has been right all along, but indeed she is right again.

Ms Mounser’s Facebook post venting her experience of being ripped off led to a comprehensive investigation and report by Fairfax Media entitled the Great Student Swindle.

Her list of 67 young people became an example of just how widespread the exploitation of young workers is and has prompted action for change.

As the face of the campaign, Ms Mounser has welcomed the pledge by NSW Labor to tackle the issue head on.

Yet, she has questioned why action should not and could not be taken right now?

Why should it wait until an election and Labor, assuming it does, gains power?

A good question.

Nobody is debating what has been found as a result of the Great Student Swindle investigation.

It has been shown there is a widespread and systematic abuse of young workers.

Why should moves to rectify that situation have to wait any longer?

Why can’t something be done now?

The short answer is, of course something can be done now and it is up to the NSW Government to put politics aside and act.

If it was an issue so obvious which relates to people’s health and wellbeing would it be acted on immediately? Of course it would and of course it should.

In fact it certainly can be argued this does directly relate to the heath and wellbeing of every young worker affected not only in NSW but across the country.

NSW Opposition  Leader Luke Foley, a regular visitor to Wollongong, has bolstered the Labor plan to tackle the issue.

Mr Foley is pledging a Labor Government would be aimed at eliminating the exploitation, adding an additional measure to create a public name and shame register as well as making those businesses ineligible for future government contracts.

“It’s the spotlight that Ashleigh put on this issue here in the Illawarra that brought the black market out of the shadows,” Mr Foley said.

“I’ve always said that the best disinfectant is sunlight. We need a public debate around what’s going on here.”

This is an opportunity for the NSW Government to lead on an existing and known issue.

Why wait when we can act now.


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