Statement on Reasonable, Practical Coalition Changes to Workplace Laws

“Changes to workplace laws proposed by the Coalition are reasonable, practical improvements that would make it easier for businesses to employ people and stay competitive, and would help make the economy stronger,” Business Council of Australia Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott said today.

“The Coalition proposals address key concerns raised by business about provisions in the Fair Work Act, which have restricted the ability of businesses to hire more people and adapt quickly to changing circumstances to remain competitive,” she said.

“While we would prefer the Coalition revisited all of the measures in the government’s Fair Work Amendment Bill 2013, which the Business Council maintains should be withdrawn, we welcome the Coalition reserving the right to oppose any further measures that might be put forward by the government prior to the election that did not have both worker and business support.

“The Business Council would strongly urge the Coalition to follow through on this pledge and oppose any move by the government to bring back compulsory arbitration of greenfield agreements and workplace disputes, which would send Australia back to the strike-ridden 1970s and 1980s.

“The Coalition has proposed some welcome measures which address the needs of the economy and the changing labour market, including enabling the Fair Work Commission to provide employer agreements that meet industry standards if an agreement cannot be reached with unions within three months, overturning expanded right of union entry provisions proposed by the government, enhancing individual flexibility agreements and restoring the Australian Building and Construction Commission.

“Although the Coalition’s proposed changes go some of the way to addressing issues with the current Fair Work Act, they do not address all of the matters raised by the Business Council to ensure workplace laws are flexible, support productivity and innovation, and enable business to adapt quickly to change so they can employ more people and invest in strengthening the economy.

“The Coalition’s pledge to ask the Productivity Commission to undertake a review of workplace laws will provide the opportunity, should the Coalition be elected in September, to address the remaining issues and make independent recommendations about how Australia’s workplace laws can be further improved to support the productive and competitive workplaces of the future,” she said.

For further information contact:
Scott Thompson, Director, Media and Public Affairs
Business Council of Australia
Telephone (03) 8664 2664 | Mobile 0403 241 128