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Workplace Relations Act.

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Senator Sue Boyce Liberal - Queensland

Electorate Office: Level 9, 301 Coronation Drive, Milton, Qld

Telephone: (07) 3510 3100 Facsimile: (07) 3510 3111



Workplace Relations Act

“Individual Workplace agreements are not the big bad wolf that the Government would have us believe, and many businesses across the country believe that flexibility is crucial to a modern industrial relations system.”

Senator Sue Boyce, Liberal Senator for Queensland, a member of the Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Senate Committee, was commenting on the tabling of the Senate Committee report on the Workplace Relations Amendment (Transition to Forward with Fairness) Bill 2008.

“There are very serious concerns, which I know are shared by many of my colleagues, about the Bill's intention to end the use of individual statutory agreements within the Australian workplace relations system.

“The Deputy Prime Minister might think she is dancing on the grave of AWA's - in fact she is dancing on the grave of many Australian small businesses, she is dancing on the grave of council services in the bush and ultimately she is dancing on the grave of the Australian economy.

“From evidence taken by the Inquiry it's pretty clear that the bill is poorly drafted and is very likely to have unintended consequences. Australian business wants to retain the flexibility offered by individual statutory agreements, subject to a safety net.

“The Senate inquiry heard evidence that collective agreements will not work in many sectors, and many 'mum-and-dad' businesses will re-think the employment of extra staff.

“Why should only those workers earning high incomes have the luxury of negotiating their own workplace agreement. There are many working mothers, students and older Australians who would love to be able to make arrangements for hours of work and a more stable income stream,” said Senator Boyce.

The Senate Committee was also told that the rigidity of Labor's proposed system could destroy many Local Government community services in regional Australia.

Senator Boyce said, “examples such as local swimming pools, programs for disadvantaged children and dog and stock-catching services were considered as being under review if workplace flexibility was removed.”

Media contact: Yasmin Khan on 0419 025 510 or (07) 3510 3100