IR reform needed to save jobs: O’Brien


Industrial relations need to be reformed to save jobs. If governments want to save jobs they should concentrate more on IR than on providing grants to struggling industries.

As reported in the Australian Financial Review, these are the views of Victorian Treasurer Michael O’Brien.

“You’re better off focusing on the structural reform to help industries rather than just looking at transfer payments from time to time,” O’Brien said.

These comments come at a time when there is debate about whether the federal government is wise to be propping up ailing industries with handouts.

Despite receiving $40 million worth of federal and state government assistance, there is speculation that jobs will be cut at Alcoa’s Point Henry aluminium smelter.

And the Victorian government last year gave $10 million to General Motors Holden and $19 million to Ford to ensure that the Victorian automotive industry would remain afloat.

O’Brien claimed that Victoria’s industrial relations system adds to the pressure that is being exerted on the manufacturing sector by competition from imports, the high Australian dollar and the carbon tax.

“Industrial relations, I think, is a key issue and Victoria is subject to the full brunt of federal Labor’s industrial relations laws,” he said.

Industrial relations was a key issue in the 2007 federal election which brought the Labor party to power.

The Coalition plans to soon release its IR policy. Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has confirmed that he has no plans to change unfair dismissal laws, but the government has speculated that the opposition will return to policies similar to the abandoned policy ‘Workchoices’.


Leave a Reply