Australia’s peak retail body, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), has commended a move by Crossbench Senators to split the Federal Government’s contentious industrial relations bill.
Senators David Pocock and Jacqui Lambie will introduce Private Members Bills bringing forward sensible and broadly supported components of the legislation, allowing time for much-needed scrutiny on other more controversial elements in the government’s legislation.
In early October, the ARA urged the Senate Inquiry into the Closing Loopholes Bill to split the omnibus legislation into multiple bills to ensure the swift passage of non-contested elements.
ARA CEO Paul Zahra said the move by Senators Pocock and Lambie is a win for common sense and urged the Government, Opposition and broader Crossbench to offer their support.
“While this legislation has a range of problematic proposals – not just for retailers but the broader workplace relations landscape – there are a number of sensible, admirable proposals that we support,” he said.
“Splitting this Bill allows for reasonable measures such as family and domestic violence protections, workplace health and safety changes and small business redundancy exemptions to be implemented swiftly, while flawed components of the Bill are sent back to the drawing board.
“Remaining provisions, such as redefining casual work and the proposed reforms to labour hire arrangements threaten to hinder productivity, increase complexity and limit the creation of secure jobs.
“The four private members bills being moved by Senators Pocock and Lambie are broadly supported by employers and business groups, and is a recommendation made by the ARA last month.
“This is a sensible approach to break through the ongoing stalemate over this legislation.”
Mr Zahra said the ARA is willing to work with the Government and other members of Parliament in consultation on the remaining components of the Closing the Loopholes Bill.
“We are enthusiastic about working alongside the Government and policymakers to help shape legislation that is beneficial for both employers and employees.”
“If the Bill was passed in its current form, these provisions would drive uncertainty, increase costs, and create a more complex regulatory environment for the industry, without any material uplift in productivity, wages growth or job creation.
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