Retailers welcome common-sense approach from crossbench as ray of hope on Closing Loopholes

The country’s largest peak body for the retail sector, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has thanked the crossbench and opposition senators for their common-sense approach to the Closing Loopholes inquiry, while raising concerns about the governments’ recommendations that threaten to make a bad bill worse.

The report handed down by the Labor–led Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee made several recommendations, which added several additional proposed measures to the legislation without making any concessions to the original Closing Loopholes legislation.

In response to the Committee handing down its report, ARA CEO Paul Zahra said “Unfortunately, the governments’ recommendations seek to expand the scope of this legislation and threaten to make a bad bill even worse.

“So, we are urging the opposition and crossbenchers in both houses not to pass the legislation with these additional measures.

“Our primary concern remains the proposed changes to casual work arrangements, particularly for small businesses. These complex changes would create unnecessary confusion without any material upside in terms of higher conversion rates to permanent employment.

“While we remain opposed to these and other changes built into the remaining provisions, we have proposed some workable recommendations if the Senate is contemplating amendments to the legislation.

The report also outlined several dissenting opinions that highlight many of the concerns employer groups have raised about the Closing Loopholes legislation.

“The ARA welcomes the dissenting reports from Coalition Senators and the Jacqui Lambie Network, along with the additional comments by Senator Pocock’s. We thank Crossbench Senators for their recommendations and urge the Senate to further pursue amendments to this flawed legislation.

“The dissenting reports highlight the need to further scrutinise this legislation when Parliament resumes next week and so we urge the opposition and crossbench not to support any measures that would circumvent debate or due process,” said Mr Zahra.

“We thank Senators Cash, Pocock and Lambie for the constructive role they have played in highlighting the deficiencies in the remaining aspects of the Closing Loopholes legislation.

“We have been encouraged by our engagement with the crossbench and opposition and look forward to engaging constructively with the government in the days and weeks ahead,” said Mr Zahra.



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