PROVIDING industrial security to new major projects and streamlining enterprise bargaining into a few simple steps, are amongst the priority reforms taken by the resources and energy industry into the Morrison Government’s industrial relations working groups commencing this week.
Australian Resources and Energy Group AMMA is representing the interests of the nation’s mining, energy, and service and supply sector employers in discussions on reforming ‘greenfields agreements’ for new major projects and the Fair Work Act’s broader agreement making framework.
In a position paper released today, AMMA reiterated its longstanding support for “Project Life Agreements” – the proposal for enterprise agreements used in the building of new major projects to match the full length of construction period.
“Australia has a huge opportunity to secure the next wave of major resources and energy project investment. About $250 billion worth of projects is sitting in our investment pipeline, with the potential to create more than 100,000 new jobs by 2026,” AMMA Chief Executive, Steve Knott AM, said.
“But we are at a serious disadvantage to other jurisdictions competing for this project capital when our industrial relations system allows for multi-billion dollar projects to be subject to strike action part-way through construction.
“Project Life Agreements are a no-brainer. This reform would provide certainty over labour costs, protection to investors and encourage greater cooperation between employers, employees and employee representatives.
“Most importantly, Project Life Agreements align to national goals supported by all sides of politics.
“They will attract global investment into primary Australian industries, create high-paid and technology-driven jobs, open up new resources and energy basins to development, and reduce the level of red-tape and regulatory burden to investing and doing business in Australia.”
In the area of agreement making, Mr Knott said the process must be simplified and streamlined, with employers and employees rapidly turning away from enterprise bargaining as their preferred option.
“Agreement making is on life support. The number of in-term enterprise agreements has halved over the past six years,” he said.
“In its current form, enterprise bargaining has become far too complex for employers and employees to navigate. The bargaining system must offer greater freedom, more flexibility and less red tape.
“At present there are roadblocks and delays at every step of the process.
“Australia’s industrial relations system is well overdue for some flexibilities, some efficiencies and a great deal of common sense. We hope this series of working groups is the vehicle to get us there.”
AMMA’s position paper contains a diagram analysis of the steps involved in agreement making currently, and AMMA’s proposed streamlined process.
MEDIA CONTACT: Brad Thompson, 0409 781 580