ACCI warns of IR battle in election year

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ACCI warns of IR battle in election year

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) will invest 'time and resources' in the 2007 election year to build confidence in the Howard Government's IR reforms, which are sagging in popularity in public opinion polls.

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The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) will invest 'time and resources' in the 2007 election year to build confidence in the Howard Government's IR reforms, which are sagging in popularity in public opinion polls.

In a statement on ACCI's business policy priorities, Chief Executive, Peter Hendy, said the IR reforms 'have generated a high profile public debate, orchestrated by the labour movement for both its industrial and political objectives'.

'The reform agenda is a matter that will be prominent in the lead up to the 2007 Federal election,' he said. 'Our workplace relations policy priority in 2007 is to contribute to the successful implementation of these reform measures and resist the roll-back of their fundamental features.

First priority

'ACCI will invest time and resources during 2007 into building public confidence in the reforms.'

Hendy said it is ACCI's 'number one priority' over the coming year to entrench the implementation of workplace relations reform 'so that its benefits can properly flow into the economy and wider society'.

Hendy said ACCI will continue to dissuade the alternative government from 'undermining the principles underpinning these reforms'.

He said the Federal Government's WorkChoices reform package incorporates many of the key policy pillars set out in his organisation's 2002 Modern Workplace Blueprint.

These include:

  • a major reduction in compulsory arbitration powers
  • a system of voluntary conciliation and mediation of disputes
  • setting of new wages and working conditions through collective and individual bargaining rather than centralised awards
  • minimum legislative standards
  • a new minimum wage system
  • easing of unfair dismissal laws, and
  • sizeable steps towards a national workplace relations system

OHS reform

ACCI is also demanding that policymakers pursue OHS reform in 2007.

Hendy said governments and OHS regulators have been slow and often resistant to improving the quality of OHS regulation and reducing its burden.

'This issue continues to rank amongst the highest of regulatory concerns for employers,' he said.

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