The federal government’s white paper on employment presents a credible strategy and contains a number of worthwhile measures, but these positives will be overwhelmed by the damage from its backward-looking industrial relations changes, Australia’s largest and most representative business group said today.

“The white paper talks up workplace flexibility, but the government’s workplace relations changes will do the opposite,” ACCI chief executive officer Andrew McKellar said.

“The government’s industrial relations proposals are designed to kill off flexible work that suits both employer and employee, including casual employment, labour hire and independent contracting.

The white paper proposes to have dual definitions for full employment, but this will create confusion and potentially undermine the long-settled understanding of full employment under which monetary policy has operated.

If the government is going ahead with these definitional changes it needs to make clear that, contrary to trade union understandings, there will be zero impact on the RBA’s interest rate setting framework, and zero expectation that the RBA will be more doveish on inflation.

ACCI welcomes the proposal for a national skills passport, an initiative that ACCI has been calling on for several years.

ACCI also welcomes new funding for the skills sector through $41 million for the new TAFE centres of excellence, and the development of higher and degree apprenticeships.

“The decision to raise the Age Pension Work Bonus from $7,800 to $11,800 will allow pensioners to earn more without losing benefits and is a step in the right direction to increasing participation in our workforce,” Mr McKellar said.

Ashley Gardiner

Director - Media and Communications

P: 0262708020

Share this article