Business groups are pushing the Abbott Government to drop a requirement in its Fair Work amendments that the FWC take account of prevailing industry standards in approving employer proposals to resolve deadlocked greenfields negotiations, in submissions to a Senate inquiry.
Oil and gas companies are pushing the federal government to introduce special greenfields agreements lasting more than five years for "major" projects involving at least $50m in capital spending and to boost certainty by giving employers an automatic right to an arbitrated extension of the deals.
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The Abbott Government has presented its first tranche of changes to the Fair Work Act to Parliament today, including proposals to free up greenfields impasses, expand the subject matter of IFAs, wind back the ALP's right of entry changes and require bargaining before protected action.
Changes to greenfields agreement provisions in the bill expected to be introduced by Employment Minister Eric Abetz next week will cut negotiation time from five months to three for major projects and cut business administration costs by $14.4 million a year, according to his department's regulation impact statement.
The Coalition has largely succeeded in neutralising IR as a 2013 federal election issue by promising to retain – at least for one term – Labor's Fair Work framework, but Australia's two major parties are still going to the September 7 poll with some significant policy differences, including on paid parental leave, right of entry, and construction industry regulation. Workplace Express compares their IR policies and those of the Greens, whose future hold on the Senate balance of power is uncertain.