The Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA) has welcomed The Australian Industrial Relations Commission’s decision to include mining on the priority list of industries for award modernisation.
“The decision of the Commission recognises the significance of the resources sector to the Australian economy and will assist the industry to make an orderly transition to the new industrial relations system that will commence in January 2010,” AMMA chief executive Steve Knott said.
AMMA appeared before both the Full Bench in Melbourne and Senior Deputy President Harrison in Perth during the Commission’s consultation hearings and urged the Commission to include the mining industry on the priority list for award modernisation.
“The resources sector is breaking records with its minerals and energy export values forecasted to reach $153 billion in 2008-09. In the iron ore sector, growth in the value of metals and other mineral exports is set to rise by 21% and accounts for more than one third of the projected growth in total energy and minerals export earnings in 2008-09. It is important that the mining industry continues to experience stability and certainty to maximise this potential,” Knott said.
The mining industry has traditionally been at the forefront of change when it comes to workplace arrangements.
“Many employers in the mining industry were the first to make State enterprise awards and enter into Australian Workplace Agreements and many continue to operate under common law contracts that are underpinned by Notional Agreements Preserving State Awards. These are the first areas of the workplace relations system affected by the government’s reforms and it is only appropriate that as a significant user of these instruments that the mining industry is given priority,” Knott said.
“Now that we have a list of priority industries, the hardest task is ahead of us. The final date for making priority awards is 12 December this year and this will require an extraordinary effort by all stakeholders, something AMMA and its members are resourced and committed to doing well in the interests of both employers and employees in the sector,” Knott said.