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Cabinet Reshuffle: AREEA welcomes appointment of new Federal Workplace Relations Minister, Simon Crean

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WITH the elevation of Julia Gillard to the nation’s top job, the resource sector’s national employer group, AREEA has welcomed the appointment of Simon Crean as Federal Workplace Relations Minister.

“We acknowledge the new Minister’s extensive parliamentary experience, in addition to his pre- parliamentary career as ACTU leader. This experience gives the Minister firsthand knowledge of the crucial role productivity plays in ensuring Australia is internationally competitive.”

“AREEA is hopeful that recognition of the policy deficiencies of the past and a fresh commitment to reviewing those deficiencies has the potential to give primacy to productivity improvements and see many of the contemporary workplace issues affecting the resource sector addressed.”

“Evident by recent RMIT research in the resources sector, there has been an emerging trend where enterprise bargaining outcomes have had minimal regard for productivity offsets and a high focus on union organisational benefits such as paid officials and payroll deductions.”

“With a large body of negotiations due shortly, as a consequence of the expiry of existing individual and collective agreements throughout the sector, we could well face some very unsettling times, unless a number of deficiencies in the current system are addressed” Mr Knott said.

“AREEA welcomes both the new minister’s appointment and the opportunity to review and progress labour relations reforms in a manner consistent with Australia’s national and international interests.”

“Mr Knott said, the RMIT survey had also discovered:

  • 40 per cent of respondents found the number of unfair dismissal claims had increased under the new Fair Work Act (when compared to the previous system).
  • 55.8 per cent of respondents experienced more union visits under expanded Right of Entry laws.
  • 48.4 per cent of respondents who had accessed new Individual Flexibility Agreement’s said they did not provide the same workplace flexibility as seen under the previous regime.
  • 61.4 per cent of respondents were unsatisfied with Fair Work Act remedies available for unprotected industrial action.
  • 90 per cent of respondents had experienced an increase in days lost due to industrial action (protected and unprotected) since the introduction of the new industrial relations laws.”

“The Prime Minister’s public commitment to lead a more inclusive and approachable Government, in which Cabinet Minister’s will have greater carriage over their portfolio by listening to the concerns of relevant stakeholders is sincerely welcomed.”


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