The latest consultation paper on workplace relations changes contains proposals that could make our complex system even worse, Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott said.
"If enacted, these proposals will make it harder for businesses to get on with innovating, doing new things, creating new jobs and new opportunities
"At a time when we want business to be innovating and have the flexibility to grow, this sends the wrong message.
"National rules to govern labour hire businesses would help reduce the red tape of conflicting state and territory schemes but it remains unclear how this would be achieved with the broad proposals put forward.
"A fit for purpose scheme for the licensing of labour hire businesses should be targeted to address real problems and it should provide specific solutions, like those identified by the Migrant Workers’ Taskforce Report.
"The consultation paper goes well beyond the identified issues and sectors recommended by that report.
"Before jumping to cumbersome, complex and technical policy change we need absolute clarity about the problems we’re trying to solve.
"The path to unnecessary complexity that leaves everyone worse off starts with overreach that goes beyond the identified problems.
"Any national scheme should not lead to:
- a duplication of obligations on businesses already covered by existing laws
- unwieldy and burdensome reporting and application requirements, and
- the involvement of unions in ‘overseeing’ the independent Fair Work Ombudsman and having access to highly confidential and sensitive personal, business and financial information as a requirement for obtaining a labour hire license.
“Businesses are ready to work with the government constructively where we can deliver solutions that leave Australian businesses and workers better off. What we can't wave through are changes that will leave all Australians worse off by sapping growth and letting our work practices fossilise as the world changes.