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Principles to govern pre-start Industrial agreements

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The Government and the ACTU have agreed to establish a set of principles for the development of 'Pre-start Industrial Agreeements'.

These agreements will ensure that future business investment in 'greenfields' developments dr major expansions to existing sites are underpinned by successful industrial relations arrangements.

The principles address issues such as rationalisation of union and award coverage on sites, including the establishment of single bargaining units.

Such rationalisation will underpin the negotiation of comprehensive workplace agreements that embody world best practice standards of management, work orgainisation and training, and the most effective use of capital equipment.

High standards of productive performance including efficiency, quality and reliability will be targeted together together with commitments to provide effective processes of consultation and dispute avoidance.

The Government and the union movement are committed to ensuring that investors undertaking major capital expansion in Australia receive the greatest co-operation to achieve standards of production which will be competitive with the best in the world.

The Attachment outlines the principles agreed with the ACTU to govern pre-start industrial agreements.



The aim of Pre-Start Agreements is to establish world best practice, standards of management, work organisation and capital equipment with regard to the establishment of "greenfields" developments and major new investments expanding

existing sites. While the detail of such agreements are most appropriately negotiated in the particular circumstances of each project, basic principles would include the following:

1. Agreement to organise work, job design and working patterns in accordance with international best practice to enable optimal use to be made of capital equipment and to ensure high standards of quality, efficiency and reliability. This would be subject to ensuring

appropriate standards and conditions of employment that meet the needs and interests of the parties

- with commitment from all parties to the continuous development and recognition of employees' skills and their flexible use.

2. Action to minimise the number of trade unions on site

- where more than one union is involved there should be an effective single bargaining unit;

- with commitment to avoid demarcation problems at all stages of the project.

3. Action to facilitate a comprehensive workplace agreement

- including, in established sites, any rationalisation of existing award coverage.

4. Establishment of effective information sharing and consultation, so that the interests of all employees are represented on an ongoing basis

- with firm commitment to effective processes to resolve industrial issues and avoid industrial disputation

5. Where applicable, agreement to transitional arrangements to smooth the way for the new project (eg. rationalising existing plant, redeployment and retraining of staff).