Howard moves to sell IR reforms to public with new Taskforce

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Howard moves to sell IR reforms to public with new Taskforce

The Federal Government has set up a Taskforce on Workplace Relations Reform to sell its IR agenda to the Australian public, and has appointed a former Federal Director of the Liberal Party and now Coalition MP to head it.

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The Federal Government has set up a Taskforce on Workplace Relations Reform to sell its IR agenda to the Australian public, and has appointed a former Federal Director of the Liberal Party and now Coalition MP to head it.

Recent opinion polls have shown that IR changes are being treated warily, and there has been a positive response in the community to ACTU TV ads claiming the proposed changes are discriminatory and unfair.

The Prime Minister, John Howard, said today the Taskforce will assist the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Kevin Andrews, in communicating details of the government’s workplace reforms to the Australian community.

The personnel

He appointed Andrew Robb as Chairman and Senator Santo Santoro as Deputy Chairman.

Howard said Robb and Senator Santoro have extensive knowledge of workplace relations issues, a long term commitment to reform, and have both demonstrated a particular interest in small business matters.

Before entering Parliament at the last election, Robb was a successful business adviser and previously held roles as Executive Director of the National Farmers’ Federation and Federal Director of the Liberal Party of Australia.

Senator Santoro was Minister for Industrial Relations in the previous Coalition Government in Queensland.

The Taskforce will also include Coalition MPs Alan Cadman, Stuart Henry, Senator Guy Barnett, Dr Andrew Southcott, Sophie Panopoulos and Luke Hartsuyker.

‘It is crucial that the Australian community understands what reforms are being proposed - and just as importantly, what isn’t being contemplated,’ Howard said.

Employer comment

Australian Business Limited (ABL) has welcomed the appointment of Andrew Robb as Chairman of the Taskforce.

‘This is the most fundamental and important economic reform in a generation’, said Mark Bethwaite, Chief Executive of ABL.

‘Selling the benefits of reform is easy, but explaining the mechanics of the reforms will be difficult,’ he said. ‘The establishment of this Taskforce is welcome and needed.’

‘The Australian economy, which constitutes just 2% of world GDP, cannot afford to run six separate workplace relations systems.

‘The current system is a mess and employers are united in the government’s endeavours to bring sanity into the workplace relations system.’

WorkplaceInfo sought a response from ACTU but they had not replied before publication.

Related

Federal IR changes 2005
 

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