THE chief executive of national resource industry employer group AREEA has today used a major national conference to call for an end to the ‘political and policy stalemate’ that is preventing the workplace relations reform that Australia needs to be productive and globally competitive.
In his opening address to around 200 resource industry leaders at the 2015 AREEA Resource People National Conference in Perth, chief executive Steve Knott pointed to competitive challenges and overregulation as key reasons for urgent workplace relations reform.
iIn the second decade of the 21st Century, genuine job security comes from working in a productive and competitive enterprise. It doesn’t come from intrusive overregulation of the workplace that serves only to push third parties into the employment relationship and create headaches and costs for employers,” Mr Knott said.
AREEA’s national conference, which is the only resource industry event dedicated to workplace and employment matters, comes after a year which saw at least $80 billion in new resource project investment slip through Australia’s fingers.
At the same time, resource employers are facing greater workforce challenges arising from a drastic low point in the commodity price cycle, productivity issues and heightened competitive pressures.
“It must be better understood that if major projects in our country don’t go ahead, or are lost to international competitors, this not only costs jobs, but decades of potential government revenues will also be foregone,” Mr Knott said.
“Fortunately, Australia still has some competitive advantages. We have great human capacity, innovation and vast natural resources that could still fuel the developing world.
“With the right support in other areas of regulation, such as workplace relations, the resource industry can bring more jobs, more royalties and more opportunities to Australia.”
Mr Knott warned that the current politicking taking place in Australia was failing to stimulate greater economic prosperity and job creation, and called for all parliamentarians to engage on the Productivity Commission’s draft report on Australia’s the workplace relations framework.
“The inertia on meaningful, necessary changes is costing jobs, costing investment dollars, and costing economic opportunities for our country. With parliament resuming next week, there is an opportunity for our politicians to engage in meaningful discussions on workplace reform,” he says.
“The Productivity Commission’s draft report has fallen short of the systematic reform we so desperately need. The Fair Work laws and institutions need an overhaul, not a ‘repair job’.
“Nonetheless, the report does address some important issues for the resource sector and, if we can drown out the predictable scare campaigns with reasoned debate, it can still be a catalyst for meaningful discussions on our nation’s future.”
Click here to view Steve Knott’s full speech. AREEA’s 2015 Resource People National Conference runs from 6 – 7 August at the Pan Pacific Perth. Complimentary registrations are open to the media.
Click here for a PDF of this release.