Australia's leading industry groups are calling for Parliament to vote on the IR Omnibus Bill this week and for all Senators to support it.
There is no valid reason why the Bill should be delayed. The certainty that these reforms will deliver is needed urgently to boost confidence, investment and job creation to complete the recovery and help put the economy on track to generate higher incomes and sustained growth in the future.
A failure to vote on the Bill will increase uncertainty and stifle business confidence at the worst possible time – just before the JobKeeper scheme ends and as businesses are making critically important decisions on whether to retain staff.
Australia is only part way through an uncertain recovery from the most severe peace-time shock since the Great Depression. With JobKeeper coming to an end, the jobs market remains very tough:
• 182,000 more Australians were unemployed in January 2021 than in February 2020.
• The impacts on young Australians are particularly severe. There were 85,000 fewer people aged 15-24 in employment in January 2021 than in February 2020 and 61,000 fewer people aged 25-34 in employment over this period. These age groups account for 47 per cent of the additional unemployed over this period.
• GDP at the end of the December quarter was still 1.1 per cent below the level reached at the end of 2019 and Gross Value Added in the market sector of the economy 2.3 per cent below its level in December 2019.
Australia has a very open economy and we are not immune from the severe economic effects that the pandemic is still having on the global economy.
The Bill contains a series of modest, practical and fair amendments to the Fair Work Act that will boost jobs, investment and confidence.
The legislation is the outcome of an extensive Government consultation process over the past nine months involving working parties of industry and union representatives. Employers have not got all they would want. There are components of the Bill addressing issues raised by Unions that we would under normal circumstances strongly oppose. This is not an Employers' Bill but a sensible compromise that employers and their workforces can work with.
The legislation has been passed by the House of Representatives and has been scrutinised by a Senate Committee which has recommended that the Bill be passed.
Australia's leading industry groups call on all Senators to put the national interest first and support the Bill.
This statement is released by: Jenny Lambert, Acting CEO, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) Innes Willox, Chief Executive, Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) Jennifer Westacott AO, Chief Executive, Business Council of Australia (BCA) Steve Knott AM, Chief Executive, Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA) Denita Wawn, Chief Executive, Master Builders Australia (MBA) Jon Davies, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Constructors Association (ACA) Paul Zahra, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Retailers Association (ARA) Wes Lambert, Chief Executive Officer, Restaurant & Catering Industry Association (RCIA) Dominique Lamb, Chief Executive Officer, National Retail Association (NRA) Tony Mahar, Chief Executive, National Farmers Federation (NFF)