Statement on the Productivity Commission’s Workplace Relations Framework Draft Report

“The Productivity Commission has outlined critical steps to move Australia’s workplace relations framework towards the system needed to support jobs and productivity in a globally competitive world,” Business Council of Australia Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott said.

“In its draft workplace relations inquiry report the commission has recommended sensible and practical changes to improve workplace agility which reflect the changing nature of the economy, workplaces and the nature of work and consumption,” said Ms Westacott.

“The commission should be congratulated for recognising the current system is not working as it should, and for making recommendations aimed at achieving a better balance between the needs of businesses and workers that will ultimately serve the interests of both.

“It is imperative that our politicians avoid the temptation to rule recommendations in or out before the commission has a chance to consider the reactions of all parties and the broader community in the development of its final report.

“The commission has addressed key concerns identified by the Business Council as barriers to the nation’s ability to adjust to external forces of technology, demographics and global economic changes in order to create more jobs and a stronger economy.

“These concerns include negotiation of green field agreements, excessive rights of entry, restricting the use of contractors and labour hire, the impact of the Better Off Overall Test and weak Fair Work Commission governance arrangements.

“Our concerns about the rigidities of the awards system and the breadth of conditions to be negotiated in enterprise agreements have been acknowledged, but the commission has stopped short of recommending improvements in these areas.

“We will work with the commission as it develops its final report to further detail our concerns about the difficulty in navigating the current awards and the problems arising from the breadth of matters for bargaining,” Ms Westacott said.

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