The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) has called out the Federal Opposition’s proposed restrictions on the use of labour hire in Australian workplaces, voicing that it is a ‘step backwards’ and will ‘erode competitiveness and jeopardise job opportunities’.
Tania Constable, CEO of the MCA said the plan is “deeply flawed, based on false premises and would negatively impact Australia’s economy”.
MCA said that rather than tackling the current complications in the workplace relations system, which prompts businesses to use labour hire, the proposed restrictions would only further introduce inflexibilities into working arrangements, and thus cost Australia jobs. Australia’s mining and mining services sector currently supports up to 1.1 million jobs and contributes approximately 15 per cent to the nation’s GDP (gross domestic product).
“Labor’s plan will erode Australian mining’s international competitiveness and act as a barrier to introducing new ways of working and new technologies and skills,” she said. If this was to occur, that would mean bad news for future investment and productivity in the mining industry, undermining the industry’s ability to continue to create high paying new jobs.
A report by Deloitte Access Economics (in collaboration with the council) found that the Australian mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector employs 484,114 people directly and another 655,654 people indirectly, with average annual earnings in the mining industry at $140,000 – the highest of any industry in Australia and more than 60 per cent higher than the national average.
“By eroding competitiveness, Labor’s plan will jeopardise the industry’s ability to continue paying high wages to attract and reward the skilled workers it needs to take advantage of future growth opportunities,” the CEO announced, “it will also hurt the many regionally-based small and medium-sized businesses and contractors servicing the mining industry.”
It is important to note that the Opposition intends to consult with businesses about the implementation of the policy.
The MCA have commented that they will be making ‘strong’ representations to the ALP regarding these plans, focusing on questioning the ‘fairness’ of these regulations. MCA have also proposed a set of workplace relations framework reforms, which can be accessed online here.
The Australian Labor Party’s plans can be found here
The Deloitte Access Economics report can be found here