IR announcement disappoints business leaders

Business groups have said the federal government’s response to the Fair Work Act Review do not go far enough.

Workplace relations minister Bill Shorten met members of the National Workplace Relations Consultative Council, and told them Labor would support 17 of 51 recommendations made by the council.

"We are able to announces changes which will streamline the unfair dismissal system, which don't compromise the fundamental rights of people who have been mistreated to make a claim and which will clean up some of the vexatious behaviour at the margins," said Shorten, in comments reported by the Sydney Morning Herald.

The Australian reports that business groups are annoyed that significant changes to industrial relations will not be brought to parliament until next year. The small, initial changes to be brought before parliament include a 21-day time limit for lodging unfair dismissal and general protection claims and other changes aimed at limiting vexatious claims.

Innes Willox of the Australian Industry Group said “vital issues” that troubled business had not been dealt with, and unions holding business to ransom over new projects needed to be put to a stop.

Peter Anderson of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry told The Australian that delaying the more significant changes until an election year would test “the patience of the business community because an election year becomes an even steeper mountain to climb.”

The Australian Financial Review also reports Anderson’s disappointment with the first round of changes to Fair Work announced yesterday.

“I am not happy that stage one doesn’t include urgent matters, I am not happy that stage one does not address the capacity of unions to strike before bargaining, I am not happy that the government promise of workable individual agreements is not being acted on.”