Cabinet split over IR changes welcomed by NSW Minister

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Cabinet split over IR changes welcomed by NSW Minister

Reports of a split in the Federal Government over changes to Australia’s industrial relations system have been welcomed by NSW Minister for Industrial Relations John Della Bosca.

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Reports of a split in the Federal Government over changes to Australia’s industrial relations system have been welcomed by NSW Minister for Industrial Relations John Della Bosca.

Media reports today say the Treasury is pushing for a dramatic simplification of the employment conditions covered by awards while the Minister for Workplace Relations, Kevin Andrews, is working on a more limited reduction. 

Andrews' view on allowable matters

Business groups such as the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Business Council of Australia have pushed for a reduction of the allowable matters covered by awards from 20 to just six. 

However, it is believed Andrews’s cabinet submission favours a reduction to 16 or 17. 

‘The more informed members of Federal Cabinet have realised that if you reduce wages and conditions and strip away rights, it is likely to trigger strikes, lockouts and conflict in the workplace,’ Della Bosca said today. 

‘It is understandable there is hesitation about ruining the harmonious climate and economic success we’ve achieved as a community, increasing costs for business and lowering family living standards simply to please Liberal Party extremists. 

‘The Howard Government has been unable to guarantee that workers wouldn’t be worse off its proposals – because that is exactly the intent of the package.’ 

Costello's view

The Federal Treasurer, Peter Costello said yesterday that once the Government got control of the Senate on 1 July ‘we will have the opportunity to reform industrial relations in a way that we haven’t before’. 

One media report quotes Government sources as saying they expect the differences between Ministers will result in a compromise under which the employment conditions covered by awards will be halved. 

Agenda

Cabinet is expected to consider the industrial relations changes next week, in time for the Howard to raise it with State and Territory leaders on 3 June.

The States will be asked at the meeting to hand over their industrial relations powers to the Federal Government. 

If they do not, the Federal Government plans to use the Corporations power of the constitution to create a new national industrial relations system. 

The Government also plans to create a commission to set minimum wages and will reduce the role of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission. 

Related

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‘Set us free from IR system’ miners tell Federal Govt

 

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