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Productivity Commission Review of the Fair Work Laws release of Issues Papers
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SENATOR THE HON. ERIC ABETZ Leader of the Government in the Senate Minister for Employment Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service

Liberal Senator for Tasmania


22 January 2015

Productivity Commission Review of the Fair » « Work » Laws Release of Issues Papers

The Productivity Commission has today released five issues papers, commencing its review of the workplace relations system.

The Productivity Commission has for the first time established an online comments forum on its website which individuals can use to quickly and simply submit their experiences of the system to allow greater participation in the review. Submissions can be made on any aspect of the system covered by the Terms of Reference, whether or not they are covered in the issues papers.

The independent review, foreshadowed in the Coalition’s Policy to Improve the « Fair » « Work » Laws (released in May 2013), will assess the operation of the « Fair » « Work » framework and consider options for improvement before making recommendations to Government. The terms of reference were carefully considered, in consultation with unions, employers and state governments.

“This is a once in a generation review of the workplace relations system and I encourage all interested parties to take this important opportunity to participate, whether they are unions, employer groups, employers, individual employees or the unemployed”, Minister Abetz said today.

“This review, by a trusted institution, will be allowed to run for longer and allow for more detailed consideration of the issues than Bill Shorten’s 2012 review by hand-picked reviewers with skewed terms of reference.”

“I encourage all interested parties, particularly small business operators and individual employees to share with the Productivity Commissions their experiences - both good and bad - with the workplace relations system with real world examples of how the system has worked, where it hasn’t, and what impact that has had.”

“The greater the number of real-world examples provided to the Commission from a variety of sources, the better the position the Productivity Commission will be in to identify opportunities for improvement and the greater the outcome of the process for employees, employers, unions, employer groups, and consumers”. 2

“I urge all parties from all quarters not to delay in providing information and examples to the Productivity Commission”.

This is a review by the Productivity Commission. Any recommendations from it will be considered by the Government but not necessarily adopted. Any recommendations that are adopted by the Government will be taken to the 2016 election to seek a mandate from the Australian people.

Further information, and the issues papers, can be found on the Productivity Commission’s website: or at Locked Bag 2, Collins St East Melbourne VIC 8003.

Media contact: Josh Manuatu, 0458 007 177

Attachment: Recent Reviews of the « Fair » « Work » Laws 3

Attachment: Recent Reviews of the « Fair » « Work » Laws

Review Year Minister

responsible Conducted by ToRs broad

enough to consider penalty rates?


specifically require it to consider penalty


Power to adjust or remove penalty


Review of « Fair » « Work » Act

2012 Shorten Hand-picked


Yes No No

Four yearly review of modern awards

2013-15 Shorten « Fair » « Work »


Yes Yes* Yes**

Review of « Fair » « Work » Laws

2015 Abetz Productivity


Yes No No

* Whilst he was Workplace Relations Minister, Bill Shorten specifically amended the « Fair » « Work » Act to specifically require the « Fair » « Work » Commission to review penalty rates as part of its review of Modern Awards

** Only the « Fair » « Work Commission has the power to alter penalty rates. The Government has no plans to change this arrangement