National productivity agenda requires IR reform: AMMA and MBA

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National productivity agenda requires IR reform: AMMA and MBA

Master Builders Australia and the Australian Mines and Metals Association claim that research underscores the case for comprehensive industrial relations reform as a centrepiece of a future national productivity agenda.

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Master Builders Australia (MBA) and the Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA) claim that research underscores the case for comprehensive industrial relations reform as a centrepiece of a future national productivity agenda.

The associations stated that research commissioned for MBA by Independent Economics highlights the upside to the economy to investor confidence and productivity if the rule of industrial law is re-established in the vital building and construction sector.

A Workplace Relations Research Project conducted by AMMA indicates that nine out of ten employers are, despite best efforts, unable to capture a productivity upside under current collective bargaining rules and union powers.

Employers call for reform

The media release concludes:
‘ACCI’s blueprint “Getting On With Business: Reform Priorities for the Next Australian Government”, released last week, calls for the urgent restoration of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), its underpinning legislation and effective government procurement guidelines. It also calls for structural changes to the bargaining system to remove union vetos over greenfield project agreements, to limit union demands over management decisions, and to abolish “strike first, bargain later” rules.
 
The Independent Economics report confirms that Australia has effectively scored an own goal given the forgone economic benefits since the ABCC was abolished. The productivity loss occasioned by the abolition of the ABCC has increased construction costs, permanently wiping out 1.5 per cent of construction activity. Small business and consumers are also affected as higher construction costs are paid for by higher costs and taxes. 
 
The report highlights a loss in consumer real wages of 0.7 per cent on a post-tax basis. Working days lost have increased by 65,000 days to an estimated total of 89,000 working days lost in 2012/13. This represents a regression of more than one half of the improvement in working days lost under the ABCC.

The ABCC was the direct result of the Cole Royal Commission into the building and construction industry.’
 
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