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A bigger say for small business



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Campaign Media Release

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd

Treasurer Chris Bowen

Minister for Education and Workplace Relations Bill Shorten

Minister for Small Business Gary Gray

A BIGGER SAY FOR SMALL BUSINESS

Small business will be given a bigger say in workplace relations policy, practice and advocacy under measures announced by the Rudd Labor Government today.

The package has three components:

• Appointing a Small Business Adviser with demonstrated small business experience to the Fair Work Ombudsman. The Small Business Adviser will work across the Ombudsman and Fair Work Commission to develop policy and practice to reflect the needs of small business at a cost of $1.1 million over the forward estimates. The Small Business Adviser will also liaise with the Fair Work Ombudsman and Fair Work Commission on small business matters and help small businesses to navigate the national workplace relations system.

• Creating a Small Business Consultative Council as a subcommittee of the National Workplace Relations Consultative Council, which is the consultative body on national workplace relations policy. This will ensure a strong voice for small business employers and union representatives from the small business sector in national workplace relations.

• New funding for the Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia (COSBOA) of $200,000 a year for two years to undertake research and advocacy to Government on behalf of Australia’s small businesses.

These changes will ensure a fair go and an improved operating environment for small business.

They will give small business a seat at the table and extra resources to contribute to workplace relations policy.

They will also bring government, small business and unions together to ensure small businesses are strong, safe and secure places to work.

In addition to these components, a Rudd Labor Government will make permanent funding for the successful Small Business Commissioner at a cost of $0.5 million over the forward estimates.

Labor is acting to keep the economy strong and we recognise the important role of small business.

Australia faces new challenges as the mining investment boom ends and small firms will play a vital role in growing and diversifying our economy.

Along with our other commitments for small firms, today’s initiatives will help small businesses to be competitive and make the most of new opportunities in Asia.

Funding for these commitments will be met from the Economic Competitiveness Fund, which is already included in the budget.

SYDNEY 24 AUGUST 2013

Communications Unit: T 03 8625 5111 www.alp.org.au

Authorised by G. Wright, Australian Labor Party, 5/9 Sydney Avenue, Barton, ACT, 2600

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Election 13 Kevin Rudd and Labor

A BIGGER SAY FOR SMALL BUSINESS

Summary

The Rudd Labor Government will put in place a series of measures to boost the voice of small business in setting the rules that affect them.

This has three components:

 Appointing a Small Business Adviser to the Fair Work Ombudsman.

 The creation of a Small Business Consultative Council as a subcommittee of the National Workplace Relations Consultative Council.

 New funding to assist small business representatives in the four year Modern Award review.

These changes ensure a fair go for small business and will lead to an improved operating environment for small business. These changes will also help bring government, small business and Unions together.

In addition to these components, a Rudd Labor Government will make permanent funding for the successful Small Business Commissioner at a cost of $0.5 million over the forward estimates.

What would a Small Business Adviser to the Fair Work Ombudsman do?

We will create a new position at the Fair Work Ombudsman for a new Small Business Adviser to work on matters affecting small businesses.

The Small Business Adviser will work with the Fair Work Ombudsman and Fair Work Commission to ensure that policy and practice reflects the needs of small businesses.

The Small Business Adviser will also liaise with the Fair Work Ombudsman and Fair Work Commission on small business matters and help small businesses to navigate the National Workplace Relations system.

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Election 13 Kevin Rudd and Labor

How will the new Small Business Advisor be paid for?

The new Small Business Advisor is estimated to cost $1.1 million over the forward estimates, with the full costs to be absorbed by the Fair Work Commission.

What does the Fair Work Commission do?

The Fair Work Commission is the national workplace relations tribunal and began operation on 1 July 2009. It is an independent body with power to carry out a range of functions including:

 Providing a safety net of minimum conditions, including minimum wages, in Awards.

 Facilitating good faith bargaining and the making of Enterprise Agreements.

 Granting remedies for unfair dismissal.

 Functions in connection with workplace determinations, equal remuneration, transfer of business, general workplace protections, right of entry and stand down.

What would a small business subcommittee of the National Workplace Relations Consultative Council do?

Labor will establish a new Workplace Relations (Small Business) Consultative Council as a new subcommittee of the National Workplace Relations Consultative Council.

The new subcommittee will liaise with small business representatives - both employers and Unions - and will mean that small business are more involved and have a greater voice.

This would further build on the Federal Government’s consultative model in developing workplace relations policy.

What is the National Workplace Relations Consultative Council?

The National Workplace Relations Consultative Council (NWRCC) is the central policy discussion forum for workplace relations matters.

Current members of NWRCC include the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Australian Industry Group, the Business Council of Australia, the Master Builders Association and the National Farmers Federation.

The NWRCC has been established by legislation and is required to meet twice per year.

Will the new subcommittee involve any costs?

The National Workplace Relations Consultative Council, and the new subcommittee, will continue to be managed within DEEWR’s current resourcing.

What is the 4 year Modern Award Review?

Modern Awards replaced Federal and State Awards on 1 January 2010. They have changed minimum terms and conditions for many employees. The changes vary by jurisdiction, industry and employer. Most Modern Awards have ‘transitional arrangements’ which phase in changes to pay rates over 4 years (ending in July 2014).

Legislation requires Modern Awards to be reviewed after 4 years.

The Rudd Labor Government will provide funding of $0.4 million over two years to COSBOA to participate in the 4 year review of Modern Awards due to start next year.

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This ensures that small business has appropriate representation in those proceedings.

Who else is involved in the Modern Award review?

The Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Australian Industry Group have previously received funding to participate in the review.

How will the cost be met?

The new funding of $0.2 million in each of 2013-14 and 2014-15, and $0.5 million in 2016-17 will be provided from the Economic Competitiveness Fund already included in the Budget.