WITH the Productivity Commission releasing the timeline of its long-anticipated review of Australia’s workplace relations system, AMMA members will have the opportunity to shape the priorities, evidence, and recommendations included in the resource industry’s comprehensive submissions.

The Australian Government publicly released the terms of reference for the Productivity Commission Review in late December, confirming the agency would be tasked with the most comprehensive look at the nation’s workplace laws in recent decades.

Late last week, the Productivity Commission announced its timetable for the review process, as follows:

January – Commission to release issues paper to assist in preparation of submissions.
March 13, 2015 – Initial submissions due.
June/July 2015 – Draft reported released and further information and feedback to be sought.
November 2015 – Final review report to be handed down and tabled in Parliament.

While the March deadline for submissions is earlier than anticipated, AMMA’s Executive Director Policy & Public Affairs, Scott Barklamb, says the peak national resource organisation will submit ‘very strong’ evidence to back the urgent case for significant workplace relations reforms.

He encourages all AMMA members to get involved.

“AMMA’s input to the Productivity Commission review is set to be the resource industry’s most significant representation on workplace policy during this term of government,” Mr Barklamb says.

“Building on the past four years of AMMA’s research and evidence into the failings of the Fair Work system, our engagement with the Productivity Commission and key policy makers throughout this process will deliver exceptional value for AMMA members and an opportunity to drive the reform agenda.

“AMMA will see to it that the ongoing input of our members will both influence what the Productivity Commission recommends, as well as continue to prosecute further changes to improve the competitiveness and productivity of our members’ operations for many years to come.

“As an industry, we will address specific areas of the Fair Work system that are impacting our nation’s capacity to deliver major resource projects on time and on budget. AMMA’s submission will clearly identify options for a better system that will better support resource investment and employment nationally.

“In this context, the input of our members is critical and we call on members to get in contact with AMMA’s specialist policy team and ensure your views and experiences are represented.”

On behalf of the resource industry, AMMA is also commissioning substantial, specialist research into the economic and employment impact of Australia’s current approaches to:

  • damaging strikes and threats to strike
  • what can be included in an employment agreement, and in union logs of claims
  • when and how unions can come onto worksites
  • employment terms and conditions for new major resource projects
  • new options for individual agreement making

AMMA will tell the Productivity Commission that if the resource industry is to continue to create employment opportunities and help sustain high living standards throughout the community, these critical problems with the national workplace laws must be confronted.

“There is nothing fair in regulation that puts jobs at risk, threatens living standards, and reduces the capacity for young people to get a job,” Mr Barklamb says.

“2015 is the year to have a long overdue national conversation on workplace reform, and to demonstrate the political and social maturity to deliver the best possible balance between protecting employment standards, and productive and competitive enterprises.

“Our political representatives must let the Productivity Commission do its work, then realistically consider its recommendations and any proposed legislation with an open mind.”

In addition to the Productivity Commission Review, which will have long-term substantial implications, AMMA is also lobbying for important workplace legislation already before the parliament to be passed.

To provide input to AMMA’s submission to the Productivity Commission Review of Australia’s workplace system, contact 1800 627 771 or email [email protected]. AMMA’s Policy team comprises:

Scott Barklamb – Executive Director, Policy & Public Affairs
Daniel Mammone – Director, Government Relations
Lisa Matthews – Senior Workplace Policy Adviser
Tristan Menalda – Senior Industry Policy Adviser

To view the terms of reference or timeline of the review, visit the Productivity Commission’s website by clicking here.

You can also register your interest to attend public hearings by clicking here.