NSW Govt goes soft on fight against 'evil' WorkChoices

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NSW Govt goes soft on fight against 'evil' WorkChoices

The NSW Government has produced a muted response to its own inquiry into the effects of WorkChoices on the State's workers, refusing to provide financial and other assistance in implementing its recommendations.

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The NSW Government has produced a muted response to its own inquiry into the effects of WorkChoices on the State's workers, refusing to provide financial and other assistance in implementing its recommendations.

In particular the Government has declined to establish an office of the Workplace Rights Advocate similar to the one in Victoria.

No additional resources

Nor will it explicitly provide additional resources to the Office of Industrial Relations to boost its inspectorate, or to the Anti-Discrimination Board (ADB) and the courts to deal with unfair dismissal claims.

The inquiry's key findings were that WorkChoices:

  • Will exploit the labour of the vulnerable, leading to a profusion of low pay, poor quality work
  • Will result in an economy characterised by low productivity
  • Is likely to exacerbate the skills shortage by removing the incentive for employers to invest in training and development
  • Is likely to lead to a reduction in workplace safety
  • Has introduced complexity, paperwork and bureaucracy 'surely unique in the developed world'
  • Will fail to boost productivity and innovation and will result in disparity and inequity in wages, an increase in the number of low paid jobs and more underprivileged people

However where the report recommends the expenditure of additional resources to monitor the effects of WorkChoices the response is lukewarm.

Regarding the establishment of the Advocate's office, the Government says 'many of the tasks that would be covered by an advocate are being adequately performed by the Office of industrial relations'.

Similarly on the recommendation that the IR Office get additional resources, the Government simply responds that it 'intends to extend these services through the Office of Industrial Relations Community Relations Program and Workplace Services Team'.

Will monitor unfair dismissal demands

The Government will 'monitor' the level of demand on the services of the ADB and the courts regarding unfair dismissals and will consider additional resources 'when necessary'.

However it agrees to 'call' on the Howard Government to repeal the WorkChoices laws a slim hope if ever there was one and backs various recommendations for the support of disadvantaged groups.

The report and the response can be found at the NSW Parliament website.

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