Business Council Endorses Workplace Changes

Major workplace relations reforms unveiled by the federal government today were endorsed by the Business Council of Australia which said they would help to underpin renewed productivity growth and prosperity.

The Chairman of the BCA’s Employment and Participation Task Force, Mr Michael Chaney, said the proposed changes were broadly in line with the three major areas of workplace reform identified by the council earlier this year.

This included changes that provided employers and employees greater flexibility in agreement making; reduced barriers to job creation and participation; and more efficient workplace regulation.

“The BCA has identified workplace relations reform as one of its four policy priorities to sustain prosperity,” Mr Chaney said.

“The reform agenda outlined by the government addresses each of the three areas which, after 10 years since the last major overhaul of workplace relations, require change to keep our economy competitive.

“It is the BCA’s strong view that these policies will underpin competitiveness, a new round of productivity growth, and job creation and we look forward to their implementation.”

At the same time, the BCA had hoped that the reforms would go further on award simplification, particularly in the reduction of the number of allowable matters.

The BCA would continue to promote its case for more reform in this area and consult with the government on the specific details of the legislation needed to implement the broad changes outlined today.

However, the benefits provided by the broad package of reforms would far outweigh the disadvantages in retaining a degree of complexity in award making.

Mr Chaney said it was important that for the reforms to have their full impact on growth, a national system of workplace regulation should be implemented.

The BCA supported the government’s plan to take the proposal to COAG and seek the referral of state powers.

“The BCA strongly encourages the state governments to play a constructive role and to not underestimate the value that a national system could deliver to Australian business and the economy.”