The Abbott Government should abandon its tedious and lengthy Productivity Commission inquiry into Australia’s industrial relations settings, and instead move urgently to free up the labour market in order to stimulate the economy.
Australian and international experts will outline the case for urgent liberalisation of Australia’s labour market at the HR Nicholls Society’s annual conference, to be held in Brisbane next week.
The slowing economy, job-sapping union militancy and the developed world’s highest labour unit costs will be on the agenda for discussion at the conference on May 17.
Society President Adam Bisits said the deep structural problems confronting the Australian economy needed to be addressed fully and quickly, and he said the Government’s proposal to refer the issue to the Productivity Commission would not achieve meaningful results.
“Australia is facing the serious problem of escalating youth unemployment and further job losses across the manufacturing industry,” Mr Bisits said.
“We are in a situation where we have no labour market flexibility to provide an opportunity for job growth to accommodate these losses in other areas.
“However it is within our ability to liberalise the labour market and reverse this situation. This was shown last month by the new Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi, who issued decrees within a month of taking office extending the period of short-term employment from 12 to 36 months and allowing companies to hire more apprentices without any obligation to give them full time employment on completion.
“Similar action can be taken in Australia. A potentially tedious and lengthy Productivity Commission inquiry into the Fair Work regime (as foreshadowed by the government) is not necessary.
The Society’s conference will bring together the experience and expertise for urgent labour market freedom”.
Topics and speakers for the conference include:
- The slowing economy and its impact on employment – Professor Tony Makin of Griffith University’s Business School;
- Australia having the highest unit labour costs in the developed world, almost double the OECD average – Michael Knox, Chief Economist, Morgans;
- Exporting of jobs due as a consequence of uncompetitive wages – Minimovers’ founder Mike O’Hagan;
- Job-sapping union militancy on the waterfront – Allan Drake-Brockman, of DLA Piper, Perth;
- Job-sapping union militancy in the building industry – the Hon Roger Gyles AO QC (the former building royal commissioner and now president of Transparency International Australia); and
- The ultimate destruction of jobs, when wage demands send a large company broke – Greg Rayburn, renowned US turnaround specialist, who will address the conference about Hostess Brands, the baker and snack food maker, which was closed due to the counter-productive militancy of the bakers’ union, with the loss of 19,000 jobs. Greg will also speak on the union aspects of attracting capital to business.
The conference will also be addressed by Attorney of Queensland the Hon Jarrod Bleijie.
HR Nicholls Society Vice-President Kyle Kutasi will discuss what must be avoided in Australia, illustrated by the labour market strangulation policies of two banana republics – Venezuela and Argentina.
And the Society’s practical plan for labour market freedom – what must be done in Australia – will be outlined by Alan Anderson, former adviser to Hon Peter Costello.
The HR Nicholls conference, Stopping the Decline; Our Urgent Jobs Plan, will be held at the Brisbane Club, 241 Adelaide St, Brisbane, Saturday, 17 May 2014.
Go to http://hrnicholls.com.au/events/for details.