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Business join forces against proposed job legislation

6th June 2023

By: Esmarie Iannucci

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia


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PERTH ( – A number of industry bodies, including the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA), the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (Appea), the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Business Council of Australia have joined forces to launch an offence against the federal government’s so-called Same Jobs, Same Pay industrial relations changes.

In a joint statement this week, the industry bodies said that the latest upheaval to Australia’s workplace relations regime would lead to lower wage growth and fewer jobs, compounding the plight of workers and families who are already doing it tough.

“The so-called ‘Same Job, Same Pay’ proposals do not mean equal pay for men and women. It does not speak of fairness and justice, as its name falsely represents.

“It means by law, employers will have to pay workers with little knowledge or experience exactly the same as workers with decades of knowledge and experience. It means by law, you cannot earn better pay by working harder or longer, if your colleague does not share your ambition or work ethic,” the statement read.

“This retrograde policy will deny Australian workers flexibility and the capacity to be treated individually. It will deny them the opportunity to negotiate more pay for harder work. ‘Same job, same pay’ will take away worker incentive and reduce productivity. This is not fair for workers or their employers. There is a better way, for better pay.

“These changes will make it more difficult for small operators to do business with big companies, rendering many service providers simply unviable, while putting significant constraints on companies wishing to expand, construct new projects and infrastructure, or simply manage their operations in their own way.”

The business sector has warned that workplace rigidity will ensure these opportunities for growth willould either go begging, or companies will be forced to endure a never-ending rollercoaster of hiring and firing as project development, construction and commodity prices rise or fall.

“How is it fair that someone with six months’ experience can demand the same pay as someone with six years’ experience?,” the MCA’s CEO Tania Constable said.

“Our workplaces should be about fairness, reward for effort, and experience. Not a blanket approach that fails to understand that all workplaces are unique and worker ambition and values, varied. Employees should expect to be paid on their experience, skills and qualifications.

“This dangerous policy is just the latest in a long series of attacks on Australian businesses that have the cumulative effect of chasing away investment and jobs, hampering our economic recovery from Covid, and undermining Australia’s role in, and benefit from, a once in a multi-generation clean energy boom.”

Appea CEO Samantha McCulloch added that the Australian oil and gas industry promoted fair and equitable pay and working conditions that reward effort and experience across the diverse career opportunities available in the sector.

“The industry is working tirelessly to provide Australian households and industry with reliable, essential energy but needs an industrial relations framework that supports operational flexibility and improved productivity to ensure competitive and affordable gas supply that is needed for Australia’s cleaner energy future,” she added.

The industry bodies have called on the federal government to put the interests of the community and the broader economy ahead of this overt pursuit of giving more power to unions; a quid pro quo for years of generous support from the movement.

However, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Tony Burke said in an interview with the ABC on Tuesday that the government was not proposing, and would not propose legislation to this effect, but that it was simply "trying to fix a loophole".

“I can only think it's either - I think probably they've done the focus group research or something like that, with some marketing company, and the actual loophole that the government's wanting to close, they discovered was indefensible and so they've tried to go off on some sort of tangent,” Burke said.

“But the loophole is a really simple one, which is if an employer agrees with their workforce and register ‘this should be the rate of pay’, you shouldn't then be able to go to a labour hire company and completely undercut what you've just agreed to. That's a loophole.”

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter




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