27 February 2014

IMPORTANT changes to our nation’s workplace relations laws (the Fair Work Act) introduced into parliament today will increase the capacity for Australia’s resource industry to secure new project investment, generate jobs and contribute to the nation’s future prosperity.

National resource industry employer group AMMA welcomes proposed reforms to rules governing employment on new resource and construction projects (greenfields negotiations), union entry into workplaces, and scope to agree flexibility.

These are critical priorities for resource industry employers. AMMA has consistently advocated for reform in these areas following poorly directed and ill-thought out changes by the previous government, evidenced by:

  • More than 50% of resource employers saying that the union veto on new project agreement making has made it ‘extremely difficult’ to bring new resources projects into this country.
  • Following the ALP gov’t opening up union site entry laws, many resource sites being harassed by union recruitment drives, e.g. Pluto LNG had 450 entry requests in the first year.
  • The take-up of the Fair Work Act’s Individual Flexibility Arrangements (IFAs) in the resource industry estimated at just 5%. To date, IFAs have failed to deliver any real flexibility.

Click here for an AMMA summary on the benefits of the government’s changes in these areas.

“The resource industry has always been heavily exposed to global competitive pressures and we were the first sector to raise serious concerns with the previous government’s Fair Work framework,” says AMMA executive director, policy, Scott Barklamb.

“With unemployment reaching 6% and other areas of our economy becoming similarly globalised and facing business closures and job losses, there is a now a near universal consensus across Australian business that meaningful workplace relations reform is urgently needed.

“Australia’s workplace laws must better support investment, job creation and competitiveness as well as protecting those in work. The status quo is clearly out of balance and increasingly ill-serving our economy and the broader Australian community.

“Restoring common sense and balance to rules governing employment on new projects (greenfields), right of entry, and individual flexibility, is a good start on long overdue reform of our workplace relations system.

“We will look closely at the detail to ensure the new arrangements are practical and accessible, and will be positive for employers, employees and jobseekers.

“Our parliamentarians need to unite behind sensible workplace reforms that will boost confidence in sectors like the resource industry that contribute critically to our economy and community.

“The Greens and Labor now have an opportunity to better encourage jobs and investment in this country, to pass this bill without delay, and to start to fix significant problems in how we regulate workplace relations in Australia.”

For a PDF of this release including relevant media contact, click here.