Workplace Relations

See below for submissions related to workplace relations.

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Submission to the Senate Select Committee on the Future of Work and Workers | 30 January 2018

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Australia’s largest and most representative business organisation, has approached this inquiry from the perspective of the foundations businesses need to survive and thrive in the modern, global economy and therefore generate and participate in paid work opportunities.

We have also tackled the question of the policy settings needed to ensure Australia will be an attractive place for investment and employment in a global marketplace, creating flow-on business opportunities for SMEs, local jobs and revenue for the benefit of the community as a whole.

Any consideration of the future of work in Australia must be predicated on supporting the future for doing business in Australia. Our working future and the jobs we can generate for today’s young people and generations to come, will be a function of the foundation we provide for business to successfully navigate changing markets and a globalising world.

Submission | Modern Slavery in Supply Chains Reporting Requirement: Response to Consultation Paper

The Australian Government released Modern Slavery in Supply Chains Reporting Requirement – Public Consultation Paper and Regulation Impact Statement (Consultation Paper) inviting comment. The Consultation Paper has been informed by the recommendations of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade in 2013 and the multi-stakeholder supply chains working party. The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Australian Chamber) was not a member of the working party.

Submission to the Fair Work Commission re Better Off Overall Test (November 2017)

IN THE FAIR WORK COMMISSION

MATTER NO: AG2017/1925 Aldi Prestons Agreement
AG2017/1943 Aldi Stapylton Agreement
AG2017/3027 Workpac Pty Ltd Manufacturing Agreement 2017

OUTLINE OF SUBMISSIONS – AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY

Submission to the Fair Work Commission re ACTU Family Friendly Working Hours Claim

M2015/2 Family Friendly Working Hours Submissions in Response | 30 October 2017

Greenfields Agreement Review: Response to Consultation Paper | 25 October 2017

The Australian Chamber welcomes this opportunity to input the independent review of the operation of Part 5 of Schedule 1 of the Fair Work Amendment Act 2015 (the 2015 Amendments) and the changes made to Greenfield (GF) enterprise agreement making under the Fair Work Act 2009 (FW Act).

Submission | Proposed amendments to the Poisons Standard – Joint ACCS/ACMS meetings, November 2017 (Helium)

Proposed amendments to the Poisons Standard – Joint ACCS/ACMS meetings, November 2017 (Helium)

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Australian Chamber) is the largest and most representative business advocacy network in Australia. We represent more than 300,000 businesses in every state and territory and across all industries. Our network employs around 4 million employees, ranging from the top 100 companies to small and medium businesses.

The Australian Chamber welcomes the opportunity to provide comment on the Scheduling Advisory Committees pre-meeting proposal for helium.

The chemical industry is a vital part of the Australian economy now and in the future. Businesses, governments, community consumers and our natural environment all benefit from the safe, responsible and sustainable use of chemicals. Any proposed changes should ensure a balanced regulatory environment that encourages investment and innovation whilst retaining standards of protection that are proportionate to any risk.

This proposal will not only impact the chemical industry, but a significant number of other industries due to helium’s various medical, industrial and scientific applications. Industries potentially impacted include:

  • Manufacturing: used in semiconductor manufacturing, fiber optic cable manufacturing.
  • Medical: used in MRIs & other medical devices and in the treatment of respiratory problems.
  • Diving: used in scuba and deep diving breathing gases.
  • Automotive: used in airbags, to detect leaks in air-con systems in cars.
  • Welding: used in welding gases (i.e. arc welding).
  • Scientific/Professional: laboratory equipment (such as a carrier gas for Gas Chromatography, microscopes).
  • Tech: used in laser cutting, 3D printing, electronics.

The Australian Chamber considers mental ill-health to be an important public health issue which impacts not only on the individual, their family and the community, but also on the workplace due to the substantial amount of time spent at work. We note that the proposed scheduling seeks to mitigate the reported public health risk of suicide by asphyxiation.

Mental ill-health is a complex issue and continued research is needed into best practice prevention strategies and responses. The Australian Chamber considers the controlling of a substance that is inherently low risk and has a number of legitimate uses, in reaction to a small percentage of intentional misuse, a disproportionate response and one that may not necessarily address the root cause of the issue. The increased regulation of this commonly used gas would have a significant detrimental impact on a range of industries. Without substantiated evidence that this action would significantly improve outcomes, we strongly oppose this proposal as it is impractical and unworkable for industry. We would encourage the reviewers to explore other less prescriptive and more practical control measures.

Jennifer Low
Associate Director, Work Health and Safety & WC Policy

Submission | Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Amendment (Ensuring Integrity) Bill 2017

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Australian Chamber) thanks the Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee (Committee) for this opportunity
to make submissions in relation to its inquiry into the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Amendment (Ensuring Integrity) Bill 2017 (Cth)(Bill).

Submission | Treasury Legislation Amendment (Improving Accountability and Member Outcomes in Superannuation) Bill 2017

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry thanks Treasury for the opportunity to comment on its draft bills, the Treasury Legislation Amendment (Improving Accountability and
Member Outcomes in Superannuation) Bill 2017 and the Treasury Legislation Amendment (Improving Accountability and Member Outcomes in Superannuation) Bill 2017: superannuation
guarantee (salary sacrifice integrity measures).

Submission | References Committee Inquiry on Penalty Rates

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Australian Chamber) welcomes the opportunity this inquiry provides to focus on:

  • Job opportunities, particularly for our young people and first time job seekers;
  • The changing expectations of consumers and desire for businesses to provide services to local communities that meet those expectations; and
  • The challenges for operators of smaller businesses to sustainably do business in the retail and hospitality industries in highly competitive markets.

Response to Consultation Paper on reforms to the Fair Entitlements Guarantee scheme (June 2017)

The Australian Chamber welcomes the opportunity to make this submission in response to the Government consultation paper on reforms to address corporate misuse of the Fair Entitlements Guarantee Scheme (Consultation Paper).

Superannuation: Alternative Default Models – Submission to the Productivity Commission

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Chamber) thanks the Productivity Commission for the opportunity to comment on its draft report, Superannuation: Alternative Default Models – Draft Report.

The submissions do not deal in detail with draft findings 5.1, 6.1, 7.1 or 8.1. With modifications in the case of draft finding 3.4 and draft recommendation 3.2 the Chamber supports the Report’s proposed draft findings and recommendations being made.

The Chamber does not any specific recommendations, but the Chamber does not support persevering with the assisted employer choice model or a variant of it.

Inquiry into the Fair Work Amendment (Pay Protection) Bill 2017 (May 2017)

The Australian Chamber thanks the Senate Education and Employment Committee (Committee) for the opportunity to make this submission in relation to its inquiry into the Fair Work Amendment (Pay Protection) Bill 2017 (Cth)(Bill).

Submission | Superannuation: Alternative Default Models

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Chamber) thanks the Productivity Commission for the opportunity to comment on its draft report, Superannuation: Alternative Default Models – Draft Report.

The submissions do not deal in detail with draft findings 5.1, 6.1, 7.1 or 8.1. With modifications in the case of draft finding 3.4 and draft recommendation 3.2 the Chamber supports the Report’s
proposed draft findings and recommendations being made.

Submission | Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Bill 2017

The Australian Chamber and its members strongly and consistently oppose wilful noncompliance with Australia’s employment laws, and any deliberate attempts by employers to
deprive employees of their due employment entitlements.

Submission | Fair Work Amendment (Repeal of 4 Yearly Reviews and Other Measures) Bill 2017

The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)(Act) not only provided a process for consolidating the legacy of literally thousands of federal and state awards into fewer instruments (the ‘modern
awards’), it also provided for a series of automatic or pre-programmed reviews of these awards.

Submission | Fair Work Amendment (Corrupting Benefits) Bill 2017

The Australian Chamber welcomes the opportunity to provide a submission in relation to the Fair Work Amendment (Corrupting Benefits) Bill 2017 (Cth)(Bill) and broadly supports its passage. It is important that officers of organisations act ethically, are motivated by appropriate considerations in discharging their responsibilities and make decisions in the interests of the organisation and not in their own interests. The policy and regulatory framework must support this outcome and where there is evidence of systematic failure it is
appropriate that the framework be reviewed and strengthened.

Submission | Minimum Wage Review 2016-2017

The Australian Chamber has long advocated for a policy and regulatory environment that helps make Australia a globally leading place to do business, invest and create jobs, and to thereby ensure Australians can enjoy the jobs, living standards and opportunities to which
they aspire. Minimum wages are an important part of the parameters for doing business and employing in Australia, particularly so for smaller employers and award reliant industries.

Submission | Exposure Draft of the Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Australian Workers) Bill 2016

The Australian Chamber welcomes the opportunity to comment on the exposure draft of the Australian Labor Party’s proposed Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Australian Workers) Bill 2016.

Submission | Inquiry into the Non-Payment of the Superannuation Guarantee

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Australian Chamber) thanks the Economics References Committee (Committee) for the opportunity to make submissions in relation to its inquiry into the impact of non-payment of the Superannuation Guarantee (Inquiry).

The subject matter of the Inquiry is important.  Non-payment of superannuation contributions affects us all.  Unpaid superannuation deprives employees of their full retirement asset and it has implications for the age pension and other age related tax funded social protection.  Continuing wilful non-payment constitutes intentional unfair competition for complying businesses.

Submission | The Superannuation (Objective) Bill 2016 – Submissions to Senate Economics Legislation Committee

The Superannuation (Objective) Bill 2016 (Bill) proposes a stand-alone act prescribing a statutory objective for the superannuation system and establishing a regulation making power to support the making of subsidiary objectives. The Bill was tabled in the House on 9 November 2016 and referred to the Senate Economics Legislation Committee (Committee) on 10 November for inquiry and report. The Australian Chamber thanks the Committee for extending the opportunity to make a
submission.

Submission | 5 Year Productivity Review

This submission provides ideas to the Productivity Commission to tackle lagging productivity growth.   Following more than two decades of prosperity driven by the mining boom, Australia now faces the real prospect of a sustained decline in living standards. This concern is affecting how businesses invest, as well as how they capture and retain talent.

The Australian Chamber stresses the importance of improving the accuracy of indicators, which will allow for better targeted policy reform, including the incentive structures that will drive growth.

The submission contains recommendations to create better functioning cities that aim to enhance supply chains, connectivity within and between cities, energy productivity and collaboration levels.  It is also proposed that health literacy standards should be improved, adopting international best practice and the Medicare Select model.  The importance of creating more effective public services by improving the public consultation process and improving online services is highlighted.

The Australian Chamber further advocates that productivity can be improved through the maintenance of strong investment in vocational education and training so as to develop future workplace skills, as well as enhancing STEM proficiency and supporting women’s participation by better targeting child care incentives.

Finally the submission includes several recommendations to create more efficient markets including removing the duplication of state and federal regulation, reducing the company tax rate and embracing international engagement through trade investment and the movement of people.

Submission | Superannuation – Alternative Default Models – Response to the Commission’s Issues Paper

As part of the government’s response to the Financial System Inquiry the Treasurer requested the Productivity Commission (Commission) to investigate and develop criteria to assess the efficiency and competitiveness of the superannuation system and to inquire into and develop alternative models for a formal competitive process for the allocation of default fund members to products.

Submission | Annual Wage Review 2016-17: Preliminary Issues

On 19 September 2016 the Fair Work Commission (Commission) issued a Statement announcing the release of three background papers covering material in relation to the following matters:

As such, these submissions are made on behalf of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in taking up the Commission’s invitation to respond to the questions put forward in the background papers ahead of a hearing scheduled for 24 October 2016.

The focus of this submission relates to the United Voice proposal for a medium term wage target given the general relevance of this issue to the Australian Chamber membership and employers in Australia. The Australian Chamber foresees that some of its members will make submissions that address the circumstances of the particular instruments of interest to them and this submission is made without prejudice to the views expressed by Australian Chamber members.

Submission | Uniline Australia Limited Fair Work Commission Decision

Pursuant to section 604 of the Act a person who is aggrieved by a decision of the Commission may appeal that decision, with the permission of the Commission. The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (“Australian Chamber”) makes these submissions in support of the appeal against the Decision as a person who is aggrieved by it.

Submission | Australian Consumer Law Review

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry welcomes the opportunity to provide a submission to the review of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) issues paper.

The Australian Chamber considers that the ACL is working well and provides an appropriate balance between the needs of consumers and business.

The implementation of the ACL represents a successful reform, replacing 17 existing Commonwealth, state and territory laws and providing a single generic national consumer protection law.

The ACL has provided businesses with an aligned system of consumer protection across the country, reducing business’ compliance costs and allowing for a consistent approach across jurisdictions.

The law supports the operation of efficient, well-functioning markets. It encourages economic activity by increasing levels of trust, reducing information asymmetries and ensuring that consumers can be confident that goods and services are safe and fit for purpose.

This post implementation review provides a timely opportunity to ensure that the ACL is operating as intended and to improve the workability of the laws.

This Australian Chamber submission focusses on the high level operation of the ACL and comments on a number of broad issues. We expect that many of our members will be making submissions focusing on more specific sectoral issues.

The Australian Chamber considers that the review should not seek to make significant changes to the ACL framework. Rather it should focus on improving the accessibility, workability, awareness and efficiency of the ACL, and on reducing compliance costs.

Any proposed measures to strengthen consumer protections must take into account compliance costs and be subject to rigorous cost benefit analysis.

Submission | Improving Bankruptcy and Insolvency Laws Proposals Paper

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry welcomes the opportunity to provide a submission to the Australian Government’s Proposals Paper Improving bankruptcy and insolvency laws.

The proposals are to:

  • Reduce the current default bankruptcy period to one year.
  • Introduce a ‘safe harbour’ for directors from personal liability for insolvent trading if they appoint a restructuring adviser.
  • Make ‘ipso facto’ clauses unenforceable if a company is undertaking a restructure.

Taken together, they have the potential to strike a better balance between encouraging entrepreneurship and protecting creditors.

Submission | Consideration of a Deferred Prosecutions Scheme

The Australian Government is considering options to facilitate a more effective response to corporate crime through encouraging greater self-reporting by companies. A key focus of this consideration is a possible Australian deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) scheme. The Australian Chamber opposes corruption.  We support endeavours to uncover and respond to corruption risks. This submission addresses the Australian Chamber’s initial reaction to the discussion set out in the Issues Paper.  Whilst the Australian Chamber would prima facie be supportive of the introduction of DPAs a great deal would depend on their specific terms and the need for them to be supervised by the judiciary, as discussed in our submission available for download below.

Submission | Establishment of a National Integrity Commission

Submission relating to the establishment of a National Integrity Commission.

Submission | Superannuation Efficiency and Competitiveness

Superannuation Efficiency and Competitiveness

Submission | Objective of Superannuation

Objective of Superannuation

Submission | Submission to the Senate Education and Employment Standing Committee on the Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Australian Workers) Bill 2016

The Australian Chamber does not support the passage of the Bill which proposes to make several fundamental changes to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act).

Submission | Annual Wage Review 2015-2016

The Australian Chamber welcomes the opportunity to make this submission to the Fair Work Commission (Commission) as a part of the Minimum Wage Panel’s (Panel) statutory responsibilities to conduct an Annual Wage Review (AWR) each financial year pursuant to Part 2-6 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (Act).

Submission | Inquiry into the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Bill 2013 [No.2] and a related bill

On 4 February 2016, the Senate referred the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Bill 2013 [No. 2] (Cth) and the Building and Construction Industry (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2013 [No. 2] (Cth) (Building Bills) to the Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee (Committee) for inquiry and report by 15 March 2016.

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