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How would the Federal Opposition’s IR policies create jobs?

Providing Influence and Industry Advocacy since 1918

Contact AREEA to find out more. When it comes to workforce & workplace relations advocacy, AREEA is right there with you.

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The Federal Opposition’s industrial relations policies contain significant new costs and regulation for Australian businesses with little vision for encouraging investment and creating jobs during the nation’s post-pandemic recovery, says Australian Resources and Energy Group AREEA.

“The policies announced by Anthony Albanese today are, disappointingly, a ‘rinse and repeat’ of the ALP / ACTU platform that failed to grab the attention of voters in 2019,” AREEA CEO Steve Knott said.

“There is a reason the obsession with so-called ‘insecure work’ didn’t cut through with the 90% of private sector employees who are not union members. It is an emotive term that might resonate well in union focus groups but is not grounded in what is really going on in the labour market.

“ABS data clearly shows casual employment has remained consistent at around one-quarter of the labour force for decades. In fact, the proportion of employees who currently receive paid leave entitlements at work is at a historic high of 77%, up from 74.5% in 2016.

“In the resources and energy industry, 83% of employees are permanents and receive paid leave entitlements. While nobody wants to see people involuntarily locked into long-term casual employment, any claim this is rife in the resources sector or the broader Australian labour force is baseless.”

AREEA suggests that instead of grounding its IR policies in the baseless claim of ‘rising insecure work’, the Federal Opposition should ask itself the following questions:

  • How could the ALP’s IR policies reduce the employment regulatory burden on employers to encourage job creation in the pandemic recovery period?
  • How could the ALP restore faith in enterprise agreement making and speed up the Fair Work Commission’s approvals process to give employees their pay rises sooner?
  • How could the ALP’s policies assist the resources and energy industry in securing the $334 billion of potential major project capital in its investment pipeline?
  • How does the ALP propose to deal with small, medium and large Australian employers facing potential bankruptcy due to multi-billion-dollar ‘double dipping’ class action claims, brought about by judicial activism?

“These are all considerations that have been well balanced in the Government’s IR reform bill presently subject to a Senate Committee Inquiry,” Mr Knott said.

“We have great difficulty in understanding why this bill is so vehemently opposed by the Opposition, given the clear benefits it would have for the 13 million working Australians, including the small percentage who are employed casually and may be looking for more permanent employment arrangements.

“Nobody is trying to deny fair payment to employees who are found to have been misclassified as casuals and owed back-paid entitlements. But the notion that employers should have to back-pay entitlements on top of casual loading already paid in lieu of those same entitlements, is ludicrous.

“Employees should be fairly paid, and employers should not have to pay twice. The Government’s IR reform bill applies this ‘fair go all round’ principle whilst introducing new casual conversion rights to ensure employees are not locked into casual contracts when their work is permanent and ongoing.

“Importantly, it will protect small, medium and large Australian employers from up to $39 billion in contingent liability that, especially with the impacts of the pandemic, would see many close-up shop.

“Instead of lazily repeating the themes of 2019’s failed election campaign, AREEA encourages the ALP to re-think it’s politically motivated opposition to the IR reforms currently before parliament; reforms that will create jobs and attract new investment during our national recovery from the COVID-19 recession.”

AREEA has provided comprehensive evidence to the Senate Committee Inquiry into the Fair Work Amendment (Supporting Australia’s Jobs and Economic Recovery) Bill 2020. For a copy of AREEA’s submission, contact Brad Thompson via the details below.

MEDIA CONTACT: Brad Thompson | 0409 781 580 | [email protected]

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