Business closures and job losses at risk with workplace reforms

CCIWA estimates 64,800 jobs will be at risk and around 5,300 businesses are in danger of closure if the Federal Government’s proposed IR reforms go ahead. 

CCIWA’s survey of almost 600 businesses across all sectors finds the most concerning elements of the Government’s Closing Loopholes Bill are the changes to casual employment and the use of labour hire. 

Nearly 75% of businesses surveyed say changes to the definition of casual employment, allowing some workers to convert to permanent after six months, will be damaging to their business. 

More than half (56%) of all respondents say the changes will stop them from hiring casuals. 

The sectors most concerned about changes to casual employment are agriculture, hospitality and retail. 

CCIWA CEO Chris Rodwell says the result are alarming. 

“This aspect of the proposed changes has emerged as the most concerning to our Members, and they’re right to be worried,” he says. 

“The changes to casual employment will not only make employers reluctant to take on new casuals, but it will also create significant red-tape headaches for those that already employ them, with financial penalties that kick in for those employers if a worker is wrongly classified. 

“These changes have the real potential to be a handbrake on jobs in WA.” 

Two out of three businesses (66%) say the changes to labour hire laws will be “extremely damaging” (26%) or “damaging” (40%).  

Nearly half say they will reduce staff levels in response, while 27% say it will reduce their ability to tender for new projects. Nearly a quarter say they will have to scale down their business.  

Rodwell says the attack on labour hire firms will disproportionately affect WA because of its widespread use in the mining industry. 

“Miners use labour hire for legitimate reasons, including commodity prices and surges in demand,” he says. 

“Our Members include businesses all the way through the mining supply chain and these results show they are deeply concerned about the impact of changes to labour hire on their businesses. 

“It also remains to be seen what impact these changes will have on service contractors who supply specialist staff to major projects – there’s nothing in this Bill to stop them from being caught in the web.” 

CCIWA will present the concerns of WA businesses before the Senate Standing Committee on Education and Employment today (6 October).  

“We’ve engaged extensively with our Members since the detail of this Bill was made public and the concern from business in WA has been palpable,” he says. 

“We are pleased the committee agreed to hold a hearing in Perth, because WA is different to the rest of Australia. 

“Our State’s economy – which holds up the nation’s bottom line – does not operate like the economies on the east coast and these proposed changes do not reflect the realities of doing business in WA.”

Are you concerned about the Federal Government’s IR reforms? Click here for more information or get in touch with our workplace experts today by calling our Employee Relations Advice Centre on 9365 7660 or CCIWA Members can book a free consultation with one of our employment lawyers by emailing [email protected].   

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