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ABC News Breakfast -

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(generated from captions) Nigerian man tried to blow up a

trans-Atlantic jet on Christmas


The Rudd Government will

usher in changes to the

industrial landscape on 1

January with the introduction

of the new national employment

standards and modern awards

business Minister Bruce Billson systems. New shadow small

has concerns about the new

round of changes and he joins

us in the studio now. Good morning, Bruce Billson. You're particularly concerned about

the impact these bill have on

small businesses. Tell us about

your concerns There's several

thousand awards being turned

into just under 100, many small

businesses don't have the

luxury of paying for specialist

advice, don't have big industry

groups out there providing them workplace relevant and

applicable advice on the new

changes for & for many it's a

great mystery so come 1 January

small businesses battling to

try and make a go of it and

keep the opportunity to employ

people are faced with changes

they know little about, a

promised education and

information campaign that was

talked about in the middle of

the year hasn't materialised

and for many this an enormous

mystery. I'm concerned some

might find themselves on the

wrong side of the new arrangements and rather than getting cracking on the

information campaign I'm

worried the Rudd Government

might stand by while there's a

crack-down on small businesses

who find themselves on the

wrong side of the new

arrangements. Surely this simp

lifies the system if there are

far fewer awards? This was the

ambition but we've seen

promises of no employee and no

employer being worse off.

That's a difficult pitch to

deliver thrrchedz been a lot of

rather confusing transitional

arrangements. Some of the new

awards are being stepped in,

some aren't even finished. Some

in the hospitality area for

instance were only ticked off

by the commission early in

December and there's still over

100 requests for variations

that aren't likely to be

resolved until the end of March

and be back dated to January 1 and my concern is while

businesses aim to do the right

thing, they might unknowingly

breach a condition that might

not even be in place now

because of the variations that

are yet to be resolved. These

changes have been flagged for

months now so how much notice

is enough notice in your books

for small business owners? I

suppose the issue was in the

middle of the year the Rudd

Government thought it was

important to have an

information and education

campaign about the generalities

of the changes. Some of the

awards weren't finalised and

they were indicating there

would be a follow-up in the

information and education

campaigns. I agreed with the

government in the middle of the

year that there was a need for

a fullo-up for the practical

applications of the changes.

We're really at the business

end of the changes, how they

impact real-life workplaces and

real-life circumstances and

that's where support is

required. You're calling for a

moratorium on the prosecution

of employ snrz Yes , given the

Government hasn't had the

education and information

campaign, we still have over

100 changes yet to be dealt

with by the commission and some

of the awards have only been

ticked off earlier this month,

it's understandable that if a

business focused on the busy

Christmas period, snrot having

the benefit of practical information, they might find

them selves on the wrong side.

The Opposition believe as

moratorium for six months to

let people get used to the

arrangements and where the

authority take a helpful

attitude rather than one that

seeks to punish people who

might breach conditions they

don't know about. Have you had

much of a hearing from the

Government on that? I wee

haven't had a response at all.

I think the small business

Minister is in the witness

protection process. I have been

pursuing access to finance,

confusion over some of inmodern

awards, even the application

and status of some of the

changes that are being

discussed and we can't quite

get a response out of him so at

least someone's out there

fighting the good fight for the

small business community. I'm

happy to do that and we're

hopeful your program's interest

will spur the Minister and the

Rudd Government into doing

something which is a very

serious concern. Certainly

Julia Gillard has been very,

very keen to make the point to

small business and to business

that she chts to bring people

along with the introduction of

the new system. Do you really

think authorities are going to

go after people who don't

comply? Michelle, who knows?

This the issue. The industrial

overwhelmingly a strict laws in Australia are

liability arrangement like a

speeding fine, you either do

the right thing or you don't

and here's the penalty. We're

very concerned there's not been the promised education and

information campaign that small

businesses focused on business

survival in difficult economic

times may not have the luxury

of specialist advisers to fine

tune their arrangements, to

work through new pay rates and

then work through the staged

transition that's being talked

about, reclassifications. Even

today, today is our second

Boxing Day in Victoria. We had

a Boxing Day on Boxing Day and

a Boxing Day today and the

penalty arrangements and the

right to decline to work on

such a day, maybe not an option

available to you guys and

clearly not to me but Ivan

those arrangements are very

confusing and through that

mystery we were just saying a

moratorium is a reasonable way

to go given all thooft change

and Frankically lack of action

on informing small businesses.

We'll have to track down Craig

Emerson in this witness

protection program. Good

luck. He comes on this show

regularly. I know Craig quite

well and he gets about but I

think now I'm his opposite

number he might be less

inclined to talk to me. All

jokes aside, this is a very

serious matter for the small

business community. They're

facing increased costs,

expanded rights of entry for

unions into workplaces where

they haven't had it before.

Lots of concerns and we need to

support the small business