Australian Resources and Energy Group AMMA will represent the views and interests of employers across one of the nation’s most critical business sectors, in the Attorney-General’s industrial relations (IR) working groups announced last night.

AMMA, the resources and energy industry’s national employer group since 1918 and the recognised specialist in IR and other employment areas, has a direct representative role on two working groups in crucial areas for the sector – Enterprise Agreement Making, and Greenfields (new project) Agreements.

In addition, AMMA will have significant input into the other three working groups (Casuals, Award Simplification, Compliance and Enforcement) through its membership of the nation’s largest and most representative business network, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, of which AMMA’s CEO Steve Knott AM is also a Board Director.

“AMMA and our members have led the debate on IR reform for decades, but in particular over the past several years as key challenges with the current legislative framework have been investigated and reported on, time and time again,” Mr Knott said.

“Now is the time for action. Australia is officially in its first recession in 29 years and an estimated 600,000 people have lost their jobs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

“IR reform is critical to getting people back into work, kick-starting our nation’s economic recovery and minimising the public debt burden of the government’s stimulus measures to be passed onto future generations.

“We commend the Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations, Christian Porter, for acting to bring together key stakeholders to discuss and put forward solutions to longstanding barriers to employment and business investment.”

Mr Knott noted the resources and energy sector, whilst enormously disrupted by the pandemic, has fared better than most Australian industries and is well placed to lead the nation’s economic recovery.

In addition to strong ongoing production figures, AMMA’s modelling shows $100 billion worth of new major resources and energy projects are advanced in Australia’s investment pipeline.  These projects could create 50,000 short-term construction jobs and 25,000 long-term production jobs over the next five years.

“IR reform is critical to securing this national opportunity.  The Greenfields Agreements working group will consider how employment arrangements for new major projects can be locked-in for the full length of project construction, delivering certainty and stability for major project investors,” Mr Knott said.

“Enterprise bargaining is on life support, with the number of agreements more than halving over the past six years.  The working group must consider both the complexity of the system as well as the inefficiency of the national administrative tribunal, the Fair Work Commission, in approving enterprise agreements.

“Like any organisation, the FWC must become more efficient. With facilitative legislation, the culture can be flipped from one of seeking ways to reject new agreement applications, to one of facilitating their approval.”

“AMMA and our resource sector members are up to the challenge on IR reform, and encouraged by the preparedness shown by other participants to join with us on tackling key issues in the national interest.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Brad Thompson, 0409 781 580