Australia can’t risk making big workplace mistakes

14 April 2023

The Business Council has called for workplace relations reform to deliver better jobs, a stronger economy and higher wages in its submission to the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations consultation process released today.

“Our submission outlines the key principles of reform that can build a more dynamic and adaptable economy to deliver better jobs, higher wages and safeguard Australia’s economic future.

“As global economic headwinds gather, Australia can’t afford a tranche of reform that leaves our feet stuck in the cement of rigid and outdated workplace practices.

“To avoid making the wrong decision, this consultation process has to be transparent and we have to be clear about the problems we’re trying to solve. We need a set of papers and proposals that outline exactly where the friction points are, how they’re adversely impacting Australians and how they can be solved most efficiently.

“If we end up with changes that aren’t grounded in serious analysis of the problem, we’ll be making a complex system even more difficult to navigate and even more stuck in old ways of working.

“The government’s challenge in crafting proposed changes including Same Job Same Pay is to ensure that they don’t put a handbrake on productivity, because that’s what delivers wage growth.

“Good government isn’t just about legislation for it’s own sake, what the government doesn’t do also matters. A big part of this challenge is avoiding needless ideological changes that leave Australians worse off in the long term by being clear about the problems we’re trying to solve and the most effective way to get there.

“More detail is needed but as currently proposed, Same Job Same Pay would be detrimental to Australia’s workplace relations system and contradictory to the government’s stated policy aims of increased access to enterprise bargaining.

“We have to go back to basics and we urge the government to deliver reforms that will actually achieve it’s stated goals.

“In other areas like workforce casualisation, we’re concerned that the case for change hasn’t been made.

“In fact, the most recent estimates suggest the number of casual employees as a percentage of the workforce is going backwards.

“At a time of global economic uncertainty, skyrocketing inflation and a global cost of living crisis, Australia has almost full employment and wages are beginning to strengthen.

“Every time we want to make a change we should ask ourselves, what are we risking?”

Read the full submission here. 


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