• Media Release

IR changes a blow to the economy

The Albanese Government has today weakened Australia’s economy, delivering a deliberate blow to investment, employment and productivity.

The government has once again rammed controversial industrial relations legislation through the Senate without proper scrutiny or debate; indifferent to the consequences and damage the legislation will wreck on the economy.

The extensive changes to workplace law will make it more difficult and more costly to do business in Australia, with households ultimately bearing the cost.

This legislation delivers extensive and unprecedented new powers to unions, whilst harming Australia’s most productive industries and increasing the burden on the nation’s already struggling small businesses.

It is a shameful trade-off.

There is nothing in this exhaustive legislation that will attract investment, nothing that will encourage capital expenditure, nothing that will increase productivity, and nothing that will create new jobs, beyond the proliferation of new union officials and industrial relations lawyers.

While each controversial element within the three tranches of industrial relations changes brought forward by this government are damaging in their own right, the cumulative impact is significant. The combination will not only act as a deadweight on Australia’s economy, but compound the cost of living pressures on Australian households.

There can be no equivocation here: these changes will cost Australians dearly, increasing the price of groceries, building materials, transport, fuel, and food delivery, at the worst possible time.

When you repeatedly and wilfully increase costs on Australian businesses, particularly small businesses, the costs are borne by Australian households.

In the space of two months, the government has introduced laws that :

  • Add complexity and restrictions to casual employment that will result in casuals being denied the opportunity to work their chosen hours and be paid their casuals loadings;
  • Attack independent contractors, deeming them to be “employees” and rope them into the IR system against their will;
  • Strip the powers of the independent Fair Work Commission to encourage unions to engage in strike action to trigger litigation, which they will be guaranteed to never lose;
  • Boost Right of Entry powers to give union officials more power than police to enter businesses and search through documents; and
  • Launched Same Job, Same Pay, forcing businesses in different workplaces and different locations to pay all staff the same, regardless of skill and experience.

The question remains whether this consistent assault on Australian businesses will cause irreversible damage to the economy, and undermine the nation’s future economic growth and prosperity.

Australia is already beginning to see the damage flowing from previous industrial relations changes, where businesses are opting to make investments outside of Australia, and the first mining companies are now facing being roped into multi-employer bargaining.