Retailers call for more time, consultation on rushed workplace relations reforms

The country’s largest peak body for the retail sector, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) says the Governments’ amendments to the Closing Loopholes legislation will increase costs, complexity and confusion without any uplift in productivity, wages or employment outcomes.

ARA CEO Paul Zahra highlighted the continued lack of consultation with employer groups on workplace relations reforms and said that the government’s amendments will make an already complex workplace relations system harder to navigate.

“There has been an alarming lack of consultation on complex changes that businesses large and small will be responsible for operating under. Unrealistic expectations have also been imposed on parliament to rush through major reforms without adequate scrutiny,” said Mr Zahra.

“This is reckless policy making, given the impact and long-lasting nature of these reforms.

“The first we saw of these 81 amendments was Tuesday afternoon. Not only is the process flawed, but these amendments also fail to address the fundamental flaws in the legislation.

“We don’t believe these amendments have done enough to address the concerns we raised in our submission to the Senate Inquiry, and maintain our position that there is significant downside without any positive impacts on productivity, wages growth or job creation.

“While there have been some modest concessions, we remain particularly concerned about the proposed changes to definition of casual work, which will restrict the type of flexibility that employers need and employees want,” said Mr Zahra.

Earlier this month, the ARA was amongst the first to call for the Closing Loopholes Bill to be split, to allow for much-needed scrutiny on the contested elements of the legislation without holding up those provisions that enjoyed widespread support.

“If the Government were serious about helping workers, they would pass the Private Members Bills tabled by Senators Lambie and Pocock, which would provide greater protections for victim-survivors of family and domestic violence, increased support for PTSD survivors and a safety net for employees affected by redundancy.

“We continue to urge the government to work with the opposition and crossbench on those aspects of the legislation that enjoy bipartisan support and allow the parliament adequate time to debate the other provisions that are more contentious,” said Mr Zahra.

ARA Media Enquiries: M 0434 381 670 E media@retail.org.au

 

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