Aussie Junk – Guilty of underpaying workers – fined $72,000

SpellingAndGrammar 1 June 2011 1

Today in the Federal Magistrates Court, Justice Neville handed down his judgment in relation to Aussie Junk (and Dennis Richter) v Fair Work Ombudsman after Mr Richter pleaded guilty – yes, people, he plead guilty – on 18 August 2010 to underpaying staff to the tune of $260,000.

For those of you interested in the detail, the case can be found online.

Some excerpts from the judgment as follows:

“For his part, Mr Richter called only one witness, his son. His evidence was very brief and of no relevance.”

“It is appropriate to record the invaluable assistance provided by [Fair Work Inspector]’s labours. This is especially so because of the parlous state of Aussie Junk’s records.”

“Regarding ‘contrition, corrective action and co-operation with authorities,’ in my view, regrettably, there has been little evidence of such matters. While co-operative during the trial, and invariably congenial in all dealings directly with the Court, Mr Richter’s submissions are replete with excuses and justifications for his actions, or the lack thereof… by none too subtle comments in his submissions, he has sought either to diminish his responsibility and or to suggest that he was, in some unaccounted way, cajoled or forced into the admissions he made. I do not accept such submissions or suggestions.”

While Mr Richter is now undertaking similar business in Queensland, for the ten people who were underpaid and those who were unlawfully dismissed, this is hopefully the end of this drawn out issue – nearly 3 years later.

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One Response to Aussie Junk – Guilty of underpaying workers – fined $72,000
realitycheck realitycheck 3:01 pm 01 Jun 11

Magistrate Neville stated in his judgement “Audits from KPMG in October 2007 and Thiess in June 2008 which confirmed significant employee underpayments” .

Hang on – a spokesperson from TAMS told Grahame Downie from the Canberra Times 16/08/2009 that ‘The Audits conducted found no areas of significant concern’.

Mr Hargreaves sent an email 28/7/2008 stating that ‘The audits concluded there was no evidence that staff were being systematically underpayed or that superannuation payments were not being made’.

Mr Stanhope emailed 30/9/2008 and stated ‘This audit identified several areas of concern relating to Aussie Junk’s payroll practices including late payment of superannuation entitlements, which I am advised have now all been paid’.

Was magistrate Neville reading the same audit reports as TAMS, Mr Hargreaves & The Chief Minister? Hmmm Interesting….

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