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Get going on work laws
letter published in The Australian Financial Review, 19 January 2012

Your editorial “Don’t hit tourism with needless costs” (January 16) on the high labour expenses the tourism industry faces, identifies but one of many problems that have emerged under the regulatory system established by the Fair Work Act.

It is now clear to all who have seriously considered that system that it is unworkable and must be radically changed. The government’s response is that it is undertaking a review but these three appointees are well-known as sympathetic to regulations. It is time to recognise what the Hawke-Keating governments (eventually) did, reduce the deterrent effects on employment of the regulation of the labour market and the excessive role of unions. Why has this lesson been forgotten?

On tourism you suggest an examination by the review and a policy response to deal with high penalty rates. But the serious regulatory problems extend right across industry and clearly need urgent reform. The government should not wait for the review to be completed but bring to cabinet an immediate assessment of the changes that are needed in the interests of improving efficiency and productivity. This is the most important policy issue facing the government in 2012.

Des Moore
Institute for Private Enterprise
South Yarra Vic

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