Australian Resources and Energy Group AMMA welcomes Minister for Industrial Relations Christian Porter launching a review into Australia’s workplace laws.

IR Minister Christian Porter

The key focus areas of the review strongly align with a list of priorities provided to Minister Porter on behalf of AMMA members within a detailed briefing letter.

Minister Porter announced last week he will take a sensible and evidenced-based review of the nation’s industrial relations laws over the next six to nine months.

The review is in line with Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s economic address in Western Australia last Monday which focussed on increasing wages growth productivity and economic prosperity.

“In his new capacity as Minister for Industrial Relations, I am asking Christian Porter to take a fresh look at how the system is operating and where there may be impediments to shared gains for employers and employees,” the Prime Minister said.

“Any changes in this area must be evidence-based, protect the rights and entitlements of workers and have clear gains for the economy and for working Australians. We would expect business organisations such as yours to build the evidence for change and help bring the community along with you too.”

AMMA strongly backed the Prime Minister’s move to order an urgent review into Australia’s industrial relations framework, with a view to cutting red tape, addressing inefficiencies and unnecessary costs of the system.

“It is clear that Australia’s industrial relations system is failing employers, employees and the economy,” said Steve Knott, AMMA Chief Executive.

“Current complexities of the system impact significantly on business growth and hold back future employment opportunities. Reforms should focus on improving relations between employers and employees, lifting business confidence, encouraging real wage rises and restoring Australia’s reputation as an attractive place to invest and do business.”

Following the Coalition’s 2019 Federal Election, AMMA welcomed the appointment of Minister Porter to the Industrial Relations portfolio and called for compliance with Australia’s workplace laws to be of high priority.

AMMA also identified a review into the performance and processes of the Fair Work Commission as an area for the Prime Minister to improving inefficiencies in the public service.

“For example, employers are very concerned about the FWC’s performance with what should be basic administrative tasks, such as the approval of enterprise agreements taking on average 76 days, and in some cases much longer, to complete,” said Mr Knott.

The following industrial relations reforms have been identified by AMMA members as the highest priorities for fixing Australia’s failing IR system and were detailed comprehensively in the briefing letter to Minister Porter.

  1. Pass the Ensuring Integrity Bill to protect members of registered organisations from corruption, unlawfulness and misappropriate use of funds and positions of power.
  2. Restore common sense to casual employment and avoid a potential multi-billion dollar cost exposure to businesses small, medium and large.
  3. Enable life-of-project greenfields agreements to provide industrial certainty to major project investors and encourage the next wave of project development.
  4. Address the rapid decline in enterprise agreement making due to unnecessary complexities and onerous Fair Work Commission approval processes.
  5. Reform the Adverse Action provisions and remove a growing area of legal complexity and cost, clogging up our courts with vexatious claims and encouraging employers to pay settlements for claims without merit.
  6. Restore balance to unfair dismissal laws including that employers should be supported in terminating employees found to have breached safety and/or community standards of conduct.
  7. Improve the performance of the Fair Work Commission through carefully selected appointments, structural improvements and addressing process inefficiencies.

With the support of, and on behalf of our members, AMMA will firmly advocate these changes to the Morrison Government during any review of the system and throughout the term of the 46th Parliament of Australia.