More workplace-related campaign promises

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More workplace-related campaign promises

Labor has promised a number of skills-related payments and policies, and the Greens released their workplace relations policy which includes a promise to vote against attempts by future governments to remove workplace protections.

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Labor promised a number of further skills-related payments and policies as part of its campaign launch yesterday, and the Greens released their workplace relations policy which includes a promise to vote against attempts by future governments to remove workplace protections.

Labor
 
Labor is promising to:
1. Increase the existing Tools For Your Trade completion payment for apprentices, from $1500 to $2000 from 1 July 2014.

2. Make it mandatory for federally funded construction projects over $5 million to employ a minimum number of apprentices and trainees. This requires the use of apprentices, trainees or cadets to meet a minimum of 10 per cent of total labour hours on the project. Training that improves the skills of existing workers will be counted for up to a quarter of the project’s obligation.
 
3. Lower the threshold for projects required to adopt Australian Industry Participation (AIP) plans from the current $500 million to $300 million. AIP plans require the identification of suitable Australian suppliers so as to give them early information and opportunities prior to bidding for contracts. The Greens Deputy Leader, Adam Bandt, said in response that the Greens had moved amendments to the Australian Jobs Bill in May this year proposing the same lower threshold, but Labor had voted against it: ‘Labor had a chance to vote for a lower threshold for protecting Australian jobs earlier in the year. If they had supported the Greens amendments it would already be law, not just another thought bubble from Kevin Rudd.’
 
4. Job Services Australia to be recast as Jobs and Training Australia from 2015, involving locally-based Jobs and Training Boards with representatives from business, local government, social, health and welfare services, VET coordinators, unions and the Commonwealth.

The Boards would develop and implement Jobs and Training Plans for the local areas, with the Boards implemented first in the 21 Priority Employment Areas established from 2009. These first 21 Boards would have priority access to federal job funding. Employment service providers would be required to place jobseekers into training that directly links to the lists of skills and priorities identified by Jobs and Training Boards.
The Greens

The Greens have released their workplace relations policy, focusing on tackling job insecurity and improving work–life balance, as well as a plan to improve the participation of disadvantaged groups in the Australian Public Service.

Highlights of the policy include:
1. Workers who have been employed for 12 months will have an enforceable right to request flexible working arrangements, including the number of hours they work, the scheduling of those hours and the location of work. Employers will have the right to refuse on operational grounds but must provide reasons for the refusal.
 
2. Existing provisions for carers requesting flexible working arrangements will be amended so that employers can only refuse where there are serious countervailing business reasons.
 
3. Casual employees or those on rolling contracts will be able to ask for permanent arrangements after 12 months in a job. Unions and employer organisations will be able to apply to the Fair Work Commission for ‘secure employment orders’ on a sector or industry-wide basis. Small businesses will be exempt from any legislation.
 
4. The number of people with a disability and people from non-English speaking backgrounds in the Australian Public Service will be doubled by 2018.

5. A promise to hold a Senate inquiry into tying Commonwealth funding to greater job security in the federally funded community, health and employment services sectors.

6. $120 million over three years to encourage the creation of 4000 continuing academic career positions to permanently replace about 20,000 casual hourly paid academic jobs.

7. A promise to oppose attempts by future governments to remove workplace protections.
 
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