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Joint statement from:

Business Council of Australia
Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Australian Energy Producers
Australian Industry Group
Australian Retailers Association
Council of Small Business Organisations Australia
Master Builders Australia
Minerals Council of Australia
National Farmers Federation
Recruitment, Consulting and Staffing Association
Restaurant and Catering Industry Association

 

27 November 2023

The Government looks set to dump more than one hundred amendments into Parliament this week as they seek to avoid proper public scrutiny by rushing their radical workplace relations changes through the House of Representatives in a matter of days.

We, Australia’s major employer groups, are concerned that with only one sitting week of the House of Representatives before Christmas, there will not be adequate time for debate and proper examination of laws which will impact the entire economy.

If the Government proceeds with their plan to introduce these vast amendments, we call for an extension of the Senate Committee Report into the Fair Work Amendment (Closing Loopholes) Bill, so these hidden amendments can be adequately investigated and publicly scrutinised.

The current policy will hit Australian businesses and workers with more costs and complexity right in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis.

To deal with criticism of the Bill, the Government has been making amendments, hiding them from the public and we only expect them to be finally released on Tuesday afternoon, giving MPs no time to scrutinise the detail before being asked to accept it.

These changes will affect every business and every worker, and rushing amendments without proper consultation will do nothing more than tinker at the edges of the 800 pages of legislation.

All the major problems with the Bill still remain and the changes, reported in recent weeks, do nothing to allay our significant fears. In fact, the Bill remains confusing, complex and costly.

Unfortunately, we, Australian’s leading employer groups, believe the Government is unwilling to listen to any views which they do not agree with. 

The Bill will

Impact up to 2.7 million casual employees with less flexible jobs and the loss of 25 per cent loading income;

Push up prices for food delivery services to consumers;

Expand the circumstances in which unions can enter workplaces without prior notice;

Impose complexity, confusion and red tape onto small businesses who are already under enormous operating pressures;

Erode the right for self employed Australians - from barbers to builders - to be their own boss;

Mean two workers with vastly different levels of experience will be forced to be paid the same;

Increase costs and reduce availability of road transport services;

Embroil service contractors in all industries in costly litigation regarding “Same Job, Same Pay”;

Increase the cost of building a home in the middle of a housing crisis.

We also reiterate our support for splitting the four non-controversial Bills, which have widespread support from the crossbench and Coalition in both houses of Parliament.

We urge the Government to genuinely listen to the concerns of businesses and workers to identify the issues it is really seeking to resolve, and engage openly and transparently to find solutions.