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Comments from Ai Group Chief Executive Innes Willox on IR aspects of the Exposure Draft Competition Law amendments

"The Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) supports the increased penalties in the Exposure Draft - Competition and Consumer Amendment (Competition Policy Review) Bill 2016 for secondary boycotts. As stated in the final report of the Harper Competition Review, there is 'no reason why the maximum pecuniary penalties for breaches of secondary boycott provisions should be lower than those for other breaches of the competition law'," Australian Industry Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox, said today.

"We are disappointed that the Exposure Draft does not include provisions to implement Recommendation 37 of the Harper Review. It is vital that sections 45E and 45EA of the Competition and Consumer Act are amended so that the prohibitions within those sections apply to awards and industrial agreements. As stated by the Harper Review Panel: 'businesses should generally be free to supply and acquire goods and services, including contract labour if they choose'. Recommendation 37 is aimed at the 'contractor clauses' which are frequently pursued by unions during enterprise agreement negotiations. These clauses stifle competition, lock non-unionised businesses out of work, impose major inefficiencies on businesses, and drive up the cost of construction projects. It is in the community's interest that these clauses be stamped out.

"The Harper Review, the Heydon Royal Commission and the Productivity Commission Review of the Workplace Relations Framework have all recommended that 'contractor clauses' be outlawed. These recommendations should be implemented without delay. Ai Group intends to press for amendments to be made to the Exposure Draft to address this issue. We note that the Government has stated that the Exposure Draft represents only the first step in implementing the Harper Review recommendations, so even if the issue is not addressed within this initial Bill there is scope for the Government to address the issue in a subsequent Bill," Mr Willox said.

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