Rushed IR amendments increase costs, complexity and confusion for businesses and 2.7 million workers

28 November 2023

The Business Council says the Government’s rushed workplace relations amendments, announced today, will still mean more costs on businesses and consumers, increased complexity across the economy and uncertainty on pay and hours for 2.7 million casual workers.

BCA Chief Executive Bran Black said the Government’s changes have made a bad bill worse by seemingly adding new union demands while not fixing measures which cost Australian families.

“Unfortunately, these changes do not address the significant concerns of Australian businesses and they will make our economy less productive and make casual employment and pay uncertain for 2.7 million workers,” Mr Black said.

“We are deeply concerned the Government is pursuing a policy which will make finding casual jobs harder in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis, when many Australians choose that extra pay.

“The changes to the definition of a casual employee are nothing more than tinkering at the edges and they do nothing to fix the complex and confusing nature of the definition for workers or their employers.”

Mr Black said the removal of the new misrepresentation provision was a step in the right direction, however it does not fix the core issues with casual employment contained in the Bill.

Legal advice provided to the Business Council confirmed that many casual jobs now available will likely need to become permanent if the Fair Work Amendment (Closing Loopholes) Bill 2023 is passed.

Mr Black backed calls by nine members of the crossbench in the House of Representatives, asking Government not to rush the legalisation through the lower house this week.

“This legislation is some of the most complex workplace relations change we’ve seen in many years and it deserves proper scrutiny and debate and we echo the crossbench calls not to rush this through.

“We call on the Government to listen to crossbench MPs and senators who are asking them not to override proper process.

“MPs are now expected to get across mountains of legislation now totalling more than 900 pages of legalisation in a matter of days.”

The Business Council says the Government has added more than 80 new amendments, some with entirely new concepts, and holds significant concerns around changes to service contracting and labour hire.   


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