Travel existing labour law routes urges Green Paper

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Travel existing labour law routes urges Green Paper

Large parts of the Australian tourism industry have failed to take advantage of workplace flexibilities available under the Federal Workplace Relations Act, according to the Federal Government's Tourism Green Paper released yesterday.

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Large parts of the Australian tourism industry have failed to take advantage of workplace flexibilities available under the Federal Workplace Relations Act, according to the Federal Government's Tourism Green Paper released yesterday.

The workplace relation’s section of the Green Paper was responding to sections of the tourism industry that said Australia’s labour and industrial laws were a source of concern when it came to labour productivity.

The Green Paper released by the Federal Tourism Minister Joe Hockey follows Australia-wide consultations and submissions to a discussion paper on the tourism industry that was released last May.

The Green Paper is a draft medium to long-term strategy aimed at growing and protecting the tourism industry.

Problems with penalties

The Queensland Resident Accommodation Mangers Association said penalty rates in the hospitality industry for weekends and public holidays were outmoded.

Tourism Tropical North Queensland said labour laws needed to acknowledge that tourism businesses operated 24 hours per day.

According to the Green Paper, the tourism industry already had avenues open to it under the Federal Workplace Relations Act that allowed more agreements, which suited the specific needs of each business, to be made.

By failing to take up these options the tourism industry had not ‘fully benefited from potential productivity gains’ that such arrangements could create,' the paper said.

The Green Paper pointed out that ‘the Workplace Relations Act provides for collective agreements either between employers and registered unions or direct between employees and employers, and for Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs) to be made between employers and individual employees.

‘AWAs give employers and employees considerable flexibility in setting wages and conditions that are appropriate to the needs and circumstances of particular industries, such as tourism.’

Further productivity gains

The Green Paper also suggested that employers could achieve increases in labour productivity by putting more emphasis on better technology and systems.

‘The application of communications systems and information technology is increasingly widespread and many further innovative applications will surely be developed over the coming decade.

‘Similarly, advances in non-technological innovations, such a better business systems, have considerable potential to lift productivity in these sectors and the overall quality of the tourism experience.’

Consultations regarding the Green Paper will be held with interested parties leading to a final strategy.

Those interested in commenting on the Green Paper can should go to the Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources website for copies of this Tourism Green Paper and information on the tourism sector.

 

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