ACIF Members Meet With Key Politicians in Canberra

On Monday, ACIF Members met for the fourth and final meeting of the year at Australian Parliament House in Canberra. Throughout the all-day meeting, the following came to speak to ACIF members:

  • Minister for Housing and Small Business Julie Collins MP
  • Deputy Leader of the Opposition Sussan Ley MP, who has the shadow portfolios of Industry, Skills, Small Business, and Women
  • Shadow Treasurer Angus Taylor MP
  • Senator David Pocock, who holds the balance of power in the Senate and has a strong interest in the construction industry

The big news of the last few days is of course that Senator Pocock has decided to support the Government’s Secure Jobs, Better Pay bill, which will ensure its passage through the Senate.

When Senator Pocock spoke to ACIF Members, he clarified the series of concessions obtained from the Labor Government for his support for the industrial relations bill.

The main area of discussion centred on the definition for exclusions from multi-employer bargaining, including raising the definition of small business from 15 to 20 employees and excluding construction. From information provided to date, this exclusion was restricted to those occupations covered by the Building and Construction General On-site Award 2020. However, the negotiations on the details are ongoing, and ACIF will be advocating with the relevant stakeholders that as much of the construction industry as possible is excluded.

Other concessions received include:

  • Making it easier for a business with 50 employees or fewer to opt out of multi-employer bargaining by putting the onus on unions to make the case for why that business should be included;
  • Giving the Minister power to designate the occupations able to participate in the low-paid bargaining stream;
  • Establishing an Economic Inclusion Advisory Council to examine the adequacy of income support payments ahead of each Federal Budget;
  • Preserving the better-off-overall test (or BOOT), which is designed to ensure no employee is financially worse-off in the new deals;
  • Including an enforceable right for parents to request unpaid parental leave; and
  • Undertaking to review the bill in two years time.

The bill is currently being finalised and is expected to be presented to the House at the end of this week.

Best regards,

Dr James Cameron

ACIF Executive Director