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We should simplify our industrial relations system, but not in the way big business wants

TJ Ryan Foundation Research Associate David Peetz writes in The Conversation (8.5.20) about how enterprise bargaining provisions take up seemingly endless pages in the federal Fair Work Act. The author argues that when the government talks about IR 'reform', we need to make sure the system becomes simpler for workers.

'As Australia contemplates its post-COVID economy, industrial relations reform has been repackaged by some as the way to “kickstart” growth.

'The Business Council of Australia (BCA) has called for our workplace relations system to be simplified and enterprise bargaining to be improved. The Australian Industry Group and the Australian Mines and Metal Association are also beating the drum for reform.

'Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe says we need to look at the system’s complexity, while this week former Productivity Commission chair Gary Banks singled out the virtue of industrial relations reform.

'It’s true our IR needs to be simpler. But to do this right, we must focus on making enterprise bargaining easier for workers.'

 

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