Australia’s resource industry has launched a campaign for 5 Reforms Over 5 Years to get our workplace relations system back on track, and ensure our resource industry and broader business community can compete globally and attract job-creating investment to Australia.
“Australia needs to do better on how we regulate work and workplace relations,” says AMMA chief executive Steve Knott.
“A modern and competitive workplace relations system needs to do more than provide protections for employees, it must also support individual choice, flexibility and agility to ensure businesses can invest, prosper and create job opportunities.
“These five reforms would deliver growth, productivity and a more positive operating environment for businesses of all sizes and across all industries. They address significant flaws and imbalances in the current Fair Work laws that create barriers to employment, investment and doing business in Australia.”
The 5 Reforms over 5 Years draws from AMMA’s federal election survey in which over 100 leading resource employers, employing more than 85,000 Australians, detailed their experiences working under the Fair Work Act. The five reform priorities are as follows:
1. Focus enterprise bargaining, and ensure legally protected strike action can only be taken over claims pertaining to the employment relationship, not union ‘wish lists’ of claims.
2. Return balance to union workplace entry laws by creating an enforceable code of conduct and removing union access to employee lunch rooms when other suitable meeting rooms are available.
3. Expand agreement making options to facilitate employment arrangements, both individual and collective, directly between employees and employers.
4. Reform unfair dismissal and ‘general protections’ laws to ensure employers are not forced to pay ‘go away money’ to settle claims without merit.
5. Replace the Fair Work Commission with modern, balanced institutions by creating an Australian Employment Tribunal and a separate Employment Appeals Tribunal.
“Australia has a choice – either remain stuck in a rigid and dysfunctional workplace relations system unfit for a highly-competitive global economy, or provide businesses with the flexibility to employ and keep Australians in work,” Mr Knott continues.
“Commodity prices have fallen off a cliff, CPI is in the negative, wages growth is at an all-time low and the Reserve Bank has reduced rates to record lows. To avoid recession we must have the courage to again pursue genuine labour market reform.
“We are looking to the next term of government to end the paralysis that has characterised our workplace relations system following the vast re-regulation under the Rudd/Gillard government.
“Getting Australia’s workplace relations system back on track is critical to re-energising business with the confidence to invest, employ and create economic value for Australia now and in the future.”