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Fall in Employment Confirms Urgent Need for Action by Abbott Government

HR Nicholls Society


The fall in employment of nearly 11,000 in August confirms the earlier call by the HR Nicholls Society’s to Tony Abbott (see release of 25 Aug) to  make the major changes to the existing legislation that will be needed just to reach the “sensible centre” to which he committed the Coalition.

The foreshadowed restoration of ABCC powers and other minor reforms are welcome but will not change the behaviour of militant unions outside the construction industry.

The proposed Productivity Inquiry is also welcome but any report is not going to result in the changes needed to reverse the continued downward trend in employment revealed in today’s figures.

The rate of growth in employment has now fallen to 1.0% pa on a trend basis compared with the 2.7% pa growth under the Coalition. The fall in growth since the introduction of the Fair Work arrangements clearly indicates the source of the problem, as does the 11% increase (trend) in those unemployed over the past 12 months.

Australia has now reached the point where employment is growing at a slower rate than the working age population. That is, those of working age are dropping out of the work force because of the shortage of jobs. 

The astonishing increase in one month in the underutilisation rate of 0.4 percentage points to 13.5% emphasises the problem.

It is a disgrace that this has occurred and threatens to continue unless immediate changes are made and the risk to employers from excessive regulation is markedly reduced.

A minimal approach would be to legislate changes to the Fair Work Act that would, for example, ensure a reversal of the tripling of unfair dismissal claims and a restoration of restrictions on “permitted matters” now able to be pursued in workplace bargaining.

There should also be an immediate stopper imposed on new employment in the Fair Work Commission.

Adam Bisits, President HR Nicholls Society (0438 405 527)

Publicity Officer: Des Moore (9867 1235)

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