Deregulate labour, boost productivity: Hilmer

The priority for boosting productivity is deregulating the labour market, University of NSW vice-chancellor Fred Hilmer told a Committee for Economic Development of Australia event yesterday.

Hilmer told the forum that infrastructure and education investment were important “enablers”, but the country’s productivity levels, which grew at 2 per cent in the 1990s but now grow at around 0.2 per cent a year, would be best assisted by addressing industrial relations.

“We can get the best education system in the world but if managers in workplaces don’t make these things happen, then productivity won’t improve,” said Hilmer, according to the Australian Financial Review.

Industrial relations have been prominent in the last week, with the Victorian Grocon/CFMEU dispute coming to an end last night after more than a week of protests, and Australian Industry Group figures showing a rise in the number of days lost due to industrial disputes.

“The latest industrial dispute statistics are worrying,” said Ai Group CEO Innes Willox.

“In the June Quarter 2012, there were 101,700 working days lost due to industrial disputes, up from 35,800 in the March Quarter 2012.”