The following is a paper by Asher Judah, author of The Australian Century (available for $29.95 from Connor Court Publishing): Ensuring Australian businesses remain competitive in an increasingly interconnected global economy will be one of the toughest challenges facing the nation this century. Confronted with rising demands for work-life flexibility, the third highest minimum wage in the OECD (60 per cent higher than the United Kingdom’s) and multiplying sources of product and service acquisition, employers will need a workplace relations system which has flexibility and autonomy at its heart. In order for Australia to secure a productive and cost competitive edge, three areas of workplace relations reform must be enacted as soon as possible. These are:
- ushering in the era of 24/7 retailing;
- returning management certainty back to construction, mining and energy businesses; and
- reintroducing EBA’s which support growth, creativity and sustainable business activity.
- restoring “right of entry” provisions;
- reintroducing the “rule of law” and harsher penalties for non-compliance; and
- introducing a higher industry standard for industry participants.
- reintroducing prohibited content rules and agreement certification standards to avoid the EBA dilution; and
- expand the variability, exclusivity and duration of Greenfield EBAs.
- restricting the use of on-hire workers and contractors;
- providing the names and contact information of all on-hire workers and contractors the business intends to engage;
- mandatory union consultation on any effort to engage on-hire workers or contactors, including clauses which prohibit greater flexibility/wages in any agreement;
- promoting union membership and activity in the workplace; and
- broadening the circumstances under which strike action may occur.
§In a century where Australia will face the most competitive business environment it has ever know, ensuring its businesses have ultimate flexibility will be essential. The above reforms can help Australia craft a workplace environment best suited to meeting the evolving needs of workers, customers and entrepreneurs. Consequently, consideration of their introduction should be given the utmost attention.
 ANRA, Economic structure and performance of the Australian Retail Industry, 2011, pp. 4-5.
 Source: http://www.nra.net.au/images/NRASubmissionMarch2012.pdf (p. 6).
 Source: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/federal-election-2013/newattack-on-penalty-rates-in-the-wings-20130906-2taiu.html#ixzz2p1DvGfwK
 Victorian Government, Securing Victoria’s Future, Melbourne, 2012, p. 7.
 Victorian Government, op. cit., p. 7.
 Multiple reports prepared for the ABCC and Master Builders Australia by Independent Economics (Econtech), 2007; 2008; 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013.
 Independent Economics, Economic Analysis of the Building and Construction industry Productivity: 2013 Update, Kingston, 26 August 2013, p. vi.
 ABS, 6321.0.55.001, Industrial Disputes, Australia, December 2012; ABS, 6321.0.55.001, Industrial Disputes, Australia, December 2013.
 Prof. A. Markus, Scanlon Foundation Surveys, National Report 2013, Mapping Social Cohesion, Caulfield East, 2013, p. 27.
 Australian Mines and Metals Association, Finding Fairness, Melbourne, July 2010, p. 1.
 Australian Mines and Metals Association, op. cit., p. 10.