"The last-minute deal to split the 'Closing Loopholes' Bill will see controversial provisions dealing with labour hire arrangements rushed through parliament without amending deep flaws in what remains a bad bill. The new laws are clearly designed to deliver on a union agenda regardless of the adverse impacts they will have on workers, industry and the broader economy," Innes Willox, Chief Executive of the national employer association Ai Group said today.
"Make no mistake, the Bill will hurt industry, undermine productivity and result in fewer job opportunities as well as higher costs that will potentially be passed on to consumers.
"Given the risks posed to industry, the controversial 'closing labour hire loopholes' provisions haven't received proper scrutiny. The Parliament should have been able to reach a consensus on how to pass the uncontroversial elements of the Bill without horse trading over legislative changes that will have big and negative impacts on key sectors.
"The amendments recently made to the labour hire provisions by the Government were only tinkering at the edges. They failed to seriously engage with a whole range of other major problems with the Bill that have been repeatedly raised by industry.
"The sad result will be uncertainty for businesses across a raft of crucial sectors that will need to grapple with how they respond to this unworkable legislation.
"Employers will now inevitably need to decide between navigating costly litigation before the Fair Work Commission in order to argue why they shouldn't be caught by the new laws or simply reassess their willingness to offer job opportunities.
"Ultimately, it will be the hundreds of thousands of workers who rely on the labour hire sector for their livelihoods who now face the most uncertainty over the impact that these amendments will have.
"The Government needs to appreciate that it will also be the broader community that bears the consequences of its determination to ram through another raft of changes that amount to an unjustified attack on business to appease union demands.
"The Government can't keep beating up industry while at the same time hoping that employers will be able to miraculously deliver higher wages to workers while avoiding passing on increased costs to consumers," Mr Willox said.
Tony Melville – 0419 190 347