FOR the third consecutive federal election, AMMA has ranked the workplace policies of each major political party against the operational and competitive needs of Australia’s resource industry. Despite some deficiencies, the Coalition’s plans have come out on top.

AMMA’s 2013 Election Year Policy Scorecard analyses which party’s proposed workplace system is best placed in terms of the capacity to support more jobs, more investment and greater confidence in Australia’s resource industry.

The Coalition ranked highest with a score of 29 from a possible 40, notwithstanding key shortfalls in its policy; the ALP scored 18.5 out of 40; while the Greens again demonstrated their deficiencies in this crucial area with a score of just 7.5 out of 40.

“This election presents a crossroads for Australia in terms of how our political leaders manage what some are calling ‘the end of the mining boom’,” said AMMA chief executive Steve Knott.

“A deeply flawed workplace system has contributed to Australia becoming a high cost, low productivity marketplace in a short period of time. Meaningful reform could see our nation regain its global competitiveness and prolong the strength of our resource industry for decades.”

Each party’s workplace policies were scored on the following 10 categories:

  • National regulatory framework/regulatory burden
  • Minimum standards and awards
  • Agreement making
  • Agreement processing
  • Industrial action and compliance
  • Unfair dismissal / general protections
  • Union right of entry and access to records
  • Impact on productivity (new category)
  • Independence of the industrial tribunal (new category)
  • Accountability of registered organisations (new category)

Australian Labor Party

AMMA’s scorecard shows the ALP’s credibility on workplace relations has deteriorated since the 2010 election, dropping from 60% (17 out of 28 under the previous score) to 46% (18.5 out of 40).

“Labor has gone backwards on workplace relations since 2010, having not only failed to address existing problems in the Fair Work Act, but also making many further anti-business changes designed to impose unions between employers and their employees,” Mr Knott said.

“If Labor sat a basic test on how workplace policies could promote investment in this country and allow resource employers to create more jobs and economic wealth, the party would categorically fail.”

The Coalition

The Coalition’s proposed improvements to the Fair Work Act will better meet the needs of the resource industry and improves its score from 64% in 2010 (18 out of 28) to 73% (29 out of 40) in 2013.

“AMMA’s scorecard shows the gap has widened between the two major parties since 2010, with the Coalition’s proposed fixes to the Fair Work Act providing more certainty and stability for Australian employers and their employees although not going far enough,” Mr Knott said.

“Such fixes include restoring the pre-2009 union site entry laws, which were balanced and universally respected; and bringing back a strong industrial watchdog for the construction industry, also extending its powers to offshore construction.

“The Coalition also scores higher than Labor due to its plans to encourage more reasonable union conduct and demands for new project negotiations (greenfield agreements).”

Despite scoring highest, the Coalition’s workplace policy does have many deficiencies, including its failure to commit to delivering a workable individual agreement.

Australian Greens

The Greens’ overall score fell in the latest scorecard to just 19% (7.5 out of 40), despite being evaluated on an expanded set of criteria.

“The Greens’ poor IR score is reflective of a party whose policies are increasingly removed from the practical realities and challenges of operating in the resource industry,” Mr Knott said.

More information

For more information contact your local AMMA office to speak with a member of AMMA’s policy or media team.