Updated December 05, 2015 00:01:11

The Turnbull Government is being pushed to change Australia’s industrial relations technique, a sensitive Cabinet document obtained by the ABC has revealed.

The incoming brief for Treasurer Scott Morrison stated increased workplace flexibility was “crucial”, and the nation’s future productivity demanded “reform now”.

Crucial points:

  • Brief urges for elevated workplace flexibility
  • Calls for “reform now” to improve nation’s productivity
  • Labor labels Treasury suggestions troubling
  • National economy establishing “broader base for future growth” Treasurer says

“Labour industry flexibility remains crucial to the economy adapting to challenges and opportunities in the future,” the powerful Treasury division argued.

“The Productivity Commission’s Review of Workplace Relations represents a important opportunity for labour marketplace reform to help drive productivity in the economy,” it mentioned, referring to a report expected this month.

“[The assessment] is an chance to develop the case for reforms to grow the economy.”

The ABC’s freedom of information investigation also located average incomes are not expected to recover for at least yet another 18 months — in what would be Australia’s longest-ever period without per capita revenue development.

“Our objective wants to be improvement in the country’s productivity,” it mentioned.

“Reform now is critical, as delay will only exacerbate the extent of modify essential in the years ahead.”

Labor concerned about penalty rates

Federal Labor stated the Treasury’s suggestions have been really troubling.

“We are concerned that when the Government talks about flexibility, and that is Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberal Party, [they] are genuinely talking about cutting penalty rates, lowering the minimum wage properly a race to the bottom,” opposition workplace relations spokesman Brendan O’Connor mentioned.

“Whether it’s with WorkChoices or other IR reforms … it’s always about cutting penalty prices, cutting the minimum wage and generating jobs much less secure.

“Our concern is given the Liberal Party record, and the current foray into the penalty rates debate by the new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, that this notion of labour flexibility is a single-way flexibility, which is properly cutting situations of employment for 11 million Australian workers.”

In October, Mr Turnbull commented on the difference amongst Saturday and Sunday penalty prices, saying: “The only reason they are diverse, I assume, is history.

“I consider more than time you will see a move to a much more versatile workplace.”

The interim Productivity Commission report, released in August, advisable cutting Sunday penalty rates for sectors such as hospitality and retail in line with Saturday pay, but said wages for emergency workers must not be impacted.

“Australian society expects to be in a position to shop, go to a pharmacy, and consume at cafes and restaurants on weekends,” Productivity Commission chairman Peter Harris mentioned.

Australia in economic transition: Treasurer

When asked about the Treasury document, Mr Morrison said Australia was continuing to go via economic transition following the investment boom in the mining sector.

“The Australian economy is diversifying and establishing a broader base for future development,” Mr Morrison said.

“Australians recognize the modifications taking place in our economy and are seeking to the Government to continue to pursue policies that assistance jobs and growth. This is what we are carrying out.

“The Turnbull Government is backing Australians with our policies — whether or not it really is our efforts to make our tax program growth friendly, boost productivity via our innovation, competition and infrastructure initiatives or acquire improved access to overseas markets even though our trade agenda, we are taking action to support Australians who are working, saving and investing.”

Speaking on Radio National in October, Mr Morrison mentioned the technique required flexibility.

“What we want is a lot more people, specifically young people, being employed,” he stated.

“We want flexibility in the system which implies men and women with disabilities, men and women who have been extended-term unemployed can get a go in the labour industry.

“Now, I don’t see why you wouldn’t want to think about something that would not accomplish these sorts of targets.”

The ABC’s investigation has also revealed:

  • Earnings per person (real per capita national revenue) will not recover to 2011-12 levels until 2017-18
  • Treasury stated “structural reform” in the multi-billion-dollar wellness and education sectors was worthwhile, and the Federation White Paper method presented an opportunity for change
  • Treasury mentioned spending budget repair was vital, and the Government ‘could not wait for financial growth to repair the spending budget bottom line’
  • The division said worldwide uncertainty and the uneven transition after the mining boom remained risks for the economy

Malcolm Turnbull appointed Mr Morrison in September, relegating Joe Hockey to the backbench and sparking his retirement from politics and Saturday’s North Sydney by-election.

External Hyperlink: Brief for incoming Treasurer

Topics: government-and-politics, scott-morrison, federal-government, work, community-and-society, australia

Initial posted December 04, 2015 23:07:02

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