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Industry’s IR reforms set to lift Australia’s Post-Pandemic recovery

In May 2020, AREEA presented the Morrison Government with the industry’s top priority industrial relations reform to assist the national economy in its post-COVID-19 recovery.

The delivery of this AREEA policy platform coincided with Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s National Press Club address (26 May) where he unveiled the Government’s plan for Australia’s post-pandemic economic recovery.

The reforms are focused on keeping people in work and encouraging businesses to employ, whilst streamlining and incentivising new employment opportunities during the post-pandemic recovery.

AREEA’s IR reform framework covers three areas of longstanding frustration for the resources and energy industry and the business community more broadly, including:

  1. Agreement Making, which is unnecessarily technical, far too slow and limited in options.
  2. The Safety Net, which is the most complex in the world and a source of significant administrative burden and red-tape.
  3. Risk, Cost & Uncertainty, which has seen Australia’s employment system become overly legalistic and costly.

The combined objective of the reform framework is for Australia’s industrial relations system to be flexible, support business confidence, drive productivity in Australian workplaces and minimise transaction costs and legal liabilities / risk.

The reforms also aim to address recent IR developments which have created mass confusion about longstanding and widespread industry practices involving casual employment liabilities and the provision of personal leave entitlements.

“In the post-COVID environment we need a system that encourages business to employ, and gets jobseekers back into the workforce,” AREEA Chief Executive Steve Knott AM said.

“Our reforms are about keeping people in work, getting more people in work and improving existing pay and conditions.

“The COVID-19 crisis has lifted the lid on just how poorly designed Australia’s industrial relations system really is.

“Years of uninterrupted economic growth and near-full employment have provided successive Australian Governments the convenience of looking the other way on industrial relations reform.

“This is a luxury the Morrison Government no longer has. We have to get back in the business of industrial relations reform for Australia to bounce back in the post-COVID recovery period.”

For more information on our policy and advocacy, contact AREEA’s Policy Team via [email protected].

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