The Australian Resources and Energy Group AMMA has presented the Morrison Government with the industry’s top priority industrial relations reform to assist the national economy in its post-COVID-19 recovery.

AMMA presented Prime Minister Scott Morrison its Post-Pandemic IR Reform Framework before his National Press Club address today (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.

AMMA’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,” AMMA 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.”

AMMA welcomes PM’s announcement on industrial relations

AMMA today welcomes the Morrison Government’s plan to bring stakeholders together to tackle the nation’s key industrial relations issues.

The Prime Minister announced today a new, time bound process of bringing together employer groups, industry associations, employee representatives and governments to chart a practical reform agenda for Australia’s industrial relations system.

Minister for Industrial Relations Christian Porter will chair five working groups for negotiations and discussions on important areas of industrial relations reform including award simplification, enterprise agreement making, casual employment, greenfields (new projects) agreements, and compliance and enforcement.

Four of the five areas noted by the Prime Minister align with priorities in AMMA’s Post-Pandemic IR Reform Framework, recently provided to both Mr Morrison and Minister Porter while the fifth area, compliance and enforcement, has been another longstanding area of advocacy.

In acknowledging the current industrial relations system has lost sight of its purpose, the Prime Minister highlighted the need for cooperation to create even more jobs, especially during the important recovery phase.

“There can only be upside in bringing everyone together in an endeavour to find common ground. At the end of the day we are all about retaining, improving and creating employment,” Mr Knott said.

“In Australia’s resources and energy sector, there is an unrelenting drive to retain highly-valued, highly-paid roles and improve existing pay and conditions. The industry also is grasping the opportunity of creating as many new jobs as we possibly can, both in post-pandemic recovery and in the long term.

“Reforming greenfields agreements is especially important given there is $100 billion worth of major projects advanced in Australia’s investment pipeline. The international competition for this investment capital will be ever fiercer as governments around the world embark on their own stimulus packages.

“This is an area of advocacy AMMA has led for over a decade, and must be the first cab off the rank.”

For 102 years, industrial relations and other employment policy areas has been AMMA’s recognised area of expertise. In keeping with this history, AMMA is regularly consulted by Australian Governments and other stakeholders on a broad number of industrial relations and workforce matters.

In addition to being a key industrial relations advocate in its own right, AMMA is also a member of the nation’s largest and most representative business organisation, the Australian Chamber, and holds a place on its Board of Directors.

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