The Business Council of Australia said today that further details of the ALP’s workplace relations platform released at the weekend confirmed business fears that Labor’s policy amounted to a significant reversal of workplace flexibility that would threaten the nation’s economic prosperity.
BCA President Mr Michael Chaney said despite claims Labor’s policy was forward-looking and fair, in reality it involved a massive re-regulation of employer–employee relations which would turn the clock back on productivity and growth, and undermine job creation and real wage growth over time.
“The extent of the radical shift for Australia’s workplace relations outlined in the policy is very worrying.
“The policy runs directly counter to the needs of a modern workplace and economy.
“It’s a real pity that Labour has committed to ambitious business reform proposals in areas such as red tape, infrastructure and federal state relations yet at the same time is proposing a retrograde approach to workplace relations that will undermine its reform objectives in these other areas.
“Maintaining workplace relations reform is a fundamental driver for productivity and economic growth. It is particularly disappointing that the ALP, the party that both recognised the importance of workplace reform and pioneered significant workplace change in the 1980s and ’90s, has now locked itself into such a retrograde policy,” Mr Chaney said.
Workplace relations reform has been the cornerstone of Australia’s economic gains over the past 20 years.
“Despite the ACTU’s misleading campaign, the current framework has delivered higher real wages, productivity growth, flexibility for workers and employers and job creation,” Mr Chaney said.
“There is no rationale or justification that can be made on economic, business or policy grounds for the radical changes that have been agreed to in the policy.
“There is no doubt that the policy, if enacted, would create major costs and uncertainty for businesses and their employees.
“We will continue to discuss the policy with the ALP and will be analysing it in further detail to assess the specific impacts on business and the wider economy,” he said.