Outgoing Productivity Commission chair Gary Banks has included workplace relations on a lengthy list of areas he says need further productivity reform.

In a recent presentation to leaders in Melbourne, Banks said that IR regulations were among the ‘most pervasive of all in their coverage of organisations and their influence on work arrangements’.

Mr Banks said most of the labour market reforms from the 1980s to the early 2000s were essentially ‘no brainers’ in providing remedy to the obvious anti-productivity nature of a ‘highly centralised, prescriptive and adversarial system’. There was also widespread recognition that the reforms were needed, despite facing some political obstacles.

However, since the Workchoices era industrial relations policy has been a ‘war zone’ with ‘reasoned public discussion about fairness/productivity trade-offs the biggest casualty’, he said.

Banks said the Productivity Commission’s reviews of the retail and electricity sectors ‘have brought to light several features of current arrangements that appear problematic at a sectoral level’. Banks said

He recently found himself condemned by union leaders for warning against the potentially adverse economic impacts of bad regulation.

As AMMA has previously reported, in the experience of resource industry employers, productivity improvements are often not discussed let alone achieved during enterprise negotiations, particularly in Greenfield agreements.

82.6 per cent of AMMA members that have tried to negotiate productivity improvements in exchange for wage increases under the Fair Work Act have not been able to do so. AMMA continues to lobby the government to reform the Act to facilitate links between enterprise agreement outcomes and productivity improvements.

This article was provided by AMMA’s Policy team. For more information contact Luke Achterstraat on (02) 9211 3566.