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APEC: labour market reform more critical than ever

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John Howard NEWS RELEASE Member for Ben nelongShadow Minister for Industrial Relations & Manager of Opposition Business in the House IR 052/94


Captain Zero has placed Australia on the path of removing all tariffs by 2010, effectively concluding one stage of reform in the product market.

The labour market, however, is a no-go area. The potential for growth in jobs and our economy will inevitably suffer.

For this reason, Laurie Brereton must widen the government's minor, technical review and take over the process from the Assistant Minister, Mr Johns.

By effectively increasing competition with our Asian-Pacific neighbours, we must improve our productivity to increase output and quality.

Despite government rhetoric to the contrary, our inflexible, legalistic and overly regulated industrial relations systems, based on rigid awards, constrains our economic performance, not to mention employment growth.

If Paul Keating and the Minister for Industrial Relations want Australia to enjoy the maximum potential from free trade they must implement true reform of the labour market instead of constantly pandering to sectional interests of union bosses.

Mr Brereton has that opportunity in the government's coming review.

He must broaden the review to consider all views, including employers'.

He must also take control of the review. Cowardly passing it off to the Assistant Minister, Mr Johns, just isn't good enough. Mr Brereton should face the consequences and review of his own Industrial Relations Reform Act failure.

CANBERRA 16/11/94