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Workplace relations reform.

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The new workplace relations system is an important step in locking in Australia’s future prosperity. The Australian Government is strongly committed to these reforms as they will underpin the next wave of productivity improvements and further strengthen the economy.

Since the Government embarked on the workplace relations reforms the Labor Party and its bedfellow the Australian Council of Trade Unions have run a campaign of fear and misinformation in the media and workplaces across the country. This was proven recently

when the ACTU’s ‘real people’ advertisements were shown to be misleading and wrong in important particulars by the Office of Workplace Services.

By contrast in the real world, since the Government introduced the changes more than 100,000 new jobs have been created in Australia. These results prove wrong the claims by the Labor Party and the union movement that there would be mass sackings because of the

new laws.

In response to the campaign of misinformation, I announce new initiatives to better inform the Australian public how these changes will strengthen the Australian economy.

The Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations continues to do an outstanding job in handling two major pieces of the Government’s reform agenda, workplaces relations and Welfare to Work. But given the size of these reforms and the public focus, I have decided to give him some assistance in successfully implementing the workplace relations reforms by appointing the Minister for Human Services as the Minister assisting the Minister for Workplace Relations. This will, of course, be in addition to his current portfolios where he is performing very well.

I have also asked the Member for Deakin, who is the Chairman of the Government’s backbench committee on workplace relations, Mr Phil Barresi, to be Chairman of a new Government taskforce on workplace relations.

Mr Barresi’s taskforce will also include:

- Senator Guy Barnett from Tasmania as Deputy Chairman; - Senator Fiona Nash from New South Wales; - The Member for McPherson, Margaret May from Queensland;

- The Member for Barker, Patrick Secker from South Australia; and - Senator David Johnston from Western Australia;


These new initiatives will better balance the information being provided to the Australian public.

My Government will continue to pursue policies which will further strengthen the Australian economy and lock in prosperity for future generations.

9 August 2006