Howard's IR bureaucracy 'massive', says Gillard

News

Howard's IR bureaucracy 'massive', says Gillard

Rather than create a simplified national IR system, the Howard Government has created 'a monolithic bureaucracy to administer a heaving, sighing, over-regulated industrial relations system', Julia Gillard says.

WantToReadMore

Get unlimited access to all of our content.

Rather than create a simplified national IR system, the Howard Government has created 'a monolithic bureaucracy to administer a heaving, sighing, over-regulated industrial relations system', Julia Gillard says.

In addressing the Melbourne Press Club, the Labor IR spokeswoman said the new system 'includes a massive expansion of staffing and an extraordinary increase in costs'.

No mandate

'And it's happening as we speak, and has been since the Howard Government decided, without a mandate, to impose his WorkChoices laws on the Australian people - workers, businesses and employers alike,' Gillard said.

She said that when WorkChoices was passed by the Australian Parliament in 2005, the bill's explanatory memorandum stated that an additional $490m would be required to implement the laws.

'But this only tells half of the story — in fact, less than half,' she said. 'Expenses in the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations have grown from $377m in 2000-2001 to $1.6bn in 2007-08, the first (financial) year of the fully implemented WorkChoices. That is more than a quadrupling in cost.'

Staff blow out

Gillard said these figures actually underestimate the increase, because in 2000-01, DEWR also had responsibility for small business.

'Staffing has also blown out by more than 80% from 2000-01 to 2007-08 and almost three quarters of these staff are based at the headquarters in Canberra,' she said. 'These staffing numbers do not include the Offices of the Employment Advocate and the Office of Workplace Services - newly re-badged as the Workplace Authority and Workplace Ombudsman respectively.

'These numbers also exclude the $15.6m spent on consulting services on reports, research and work which was directly related to WorkChoices, as disclosed in the Department's 2005-06 Annual report.

'And as incredulous (sic) as it might sound, it also does not include the recent announcements associated with the so called Fairness Test.'

600 more staff

Gillard said these recent changes provide an additional $370.3m for the implementation of their test — increasing the OEA's resources by 52% and the OWS by 30% — 'and an additional 600 staff are being employed to scrutinise every agreement lodged'.

'John Howard's big government industrial relations bureaucracy is not just a slap in the face to every small government conservative, it's a slap in the face to every employer,' she said. 'The slap in the face is made even more stinging by the Howard Government's demand that each and every employer hand to each of their employees a propaganda sheet before the next election or face a $110 fine per employee.

'Let's be absolutely clear, this bureaucracy is needed because WorkChoices is legislation that is not just unfair, but is unworkable to the core.'

Related

WorkChoices needs 'phonebook not fact sheet', says Della Bosca

Howard's 'Big Brother' fairness test

  

 

Post details