Della Bosca denies IR conference a con job

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Della Bosca denies IR conference a con job

Yesterday's Fair Go conference on IR in Sydney was a 'con job' according to the Federal Government, but NSW IR Minister John Della Bosca says Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews is 'ignorant of the facts'.

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Yesterday's Fair Go conference on IR in Sydney was a 'con job' according to the Federal Government, but NSW IR Minister John Della Bosca says Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews is 'ignorant of the facts'.

Andrews said that under the guise of an independent seminar, 'people are being conned out of $350 to attend to listen to keynote speakers who are almost uniformly opponents of the reforms'.

He said that contrary to the ideological criticism speakers were 'bound to vent about the reforms, the facts tell a very different story'.

Andrews sais that since March 27 when the new workplace laws came into operation, 25,300 new jobs have been created in New South Wales.

No mass sackings

'So much for Labor and the unions' claim that WorkChoices was going to be "a green light for mass-sackings",' he said.

Della Bosca said today, Andrews' attack revealed how out of touch the Howard Government had become. He said the 80,000 calls the NSW Office of Industrial Relations had received from workers and businesses hurt by the new laws since their introduction in March was ample evidence of community feeling about the issue.

'Far from being one-sided, the conference heard the views of industry groups, unions and leading industrial relations experts from across Australia,' Della Bosca said.

'Even representatives from his own agencies, the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations, Office of Workplace Services and the Office of the Employment Advocate were in attendance. They were among the first to register.

Industry reps

'There were also industry representatives who were guest speakers.

'Even the industry representatives raised concerns about WorkChoices' cost to business and its complexity and raised doubts about productivity gains,' the Minister said.

Mr Della Bosca said the conference was inclusive and invited guests included:

  • Professor Ian Harper from the Australian Fair Pay Commission,
  • Award Review Taskforce Chair, Matthew O'Callaghan,
  • The Australian Industry Group's Heather Ridout,
  • Chris Hartcher, the Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations, and
  • Peter Hendy, from the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

None of these spoke at the conference, but Ridout sent a replacement.

WorkplaceInfo will be publishing more stories from proceedings of this conference next week.

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