AMMA calls on gov to act on Fair Work reforms

The AMMA has called on the Federal Government to act on the five key Fair Work reforms, or put $240 billion worth of potential projects at risk.

It comes after yesterday's National Workplace Relations Consultative Council meeting, where AMMA chief Steve Knott reaffirmed the five areas of reform to address ongoing industrial relations issues caused by the current Fair Work act.

Earlier this year the group pushed for a reform of the act after the AMMA released its fifth report in the ongoing AMMA Workplace Relations Research Project.

"This report marks two years since the first publication of the results of this ongoing study and clearly demonstrates the industrial environment has shifted dramatically for the worse," AMMA acting chief Minna Knight said at the time.

"The ability for unions to hold new resources projects to ransom as part of the Act's greenfield bargaining processes continues to be one of the biggest concerns for significant Australian resource projects in the near future."

Knight said the mandatory involvement of unions in greenfield agreements has "led to a culture where employers are pressured to accept exorbitant claims or face lengthy delays to project timelines.

She went on to call a review of the process to eliminate the legislative loophole that allows for unions to take protected strike action without majority consent and before bargaining has even begun.

Now "yesterday's announcements by workplace relations minister Bill Shorten of administrative and clarifying amendments to the Fair Work Act may appease some IR bureaucrats, but we are at a very dangerous stage of the investment cycle where Australia's pipeline of projects is becoming clogged and the only antidote is constructive IR policy solutions, not more IR political creative inertia," Knott stated.

"This is not the time for the government to be sitting on its hands," he said.

"After months and months of analysis and reviews, further delays in handing down meaningful and effective IR reforms will continue to undermine investment confidence in Australian resource sector projects. How many projects do we need to see delayed, deferred or cancelled before the government acts?

"The federal government has not addressed the key matters that are resulting in significant delays for new resource projects, rising industrial disputation, and damaging blow-outs in wages and conditions. When coupled with declining productivity levels a perfect storm for further investment strikes is imminent."

While the AMMA made 54 recommendations, its five key focus areas for reform included greenfield agreement making; agreement content which pertains to the use of contractors and labour hire; protected industrial action and the endorsement of strikes; the right of entry; and individual flexibility.

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