IR Bill threatens jobs, economy, survey reveals

Tens of thousands of WA workplaces are set to be damaged by the Federal Government’s industrial relations Bill, according to a CCIWA snap business survey. 

In response to the Government’s proposed IR legislation, WA businesses are poised to reduce staff, reduce operations, shift overseas or even shut their doors.

Of the more than 300 respondents, 92 per cent said they were worried about at least one aspect of the Secure Jobs Better Pay Bill. 

MORE: CCIWA fights ‘problematic’ IR reforms

The survey found: 

  • Nine in 10 respondents (92 per cent) would be “damaged” by measures which reduce their ability to set their own work arrangements, with three in five (58 per cent) describing the damage as “extreme”. 
  • More than four in five (87 per cent) would be damaged by multi-employer bargaining, which would force more complex, inflexible and unsuitable agreements. 
  • Losing control of setting work arrangements would see 34,000 workplaces at risk of employing fewer staff in the years ahead if the changes proceed. 
  • The impact of multi-employer bargaining is of a similar magnitude, with around 30,000 workplaces at risk. 
  • Three quarters of respondents (74 per cent) said being forced to immediately bargain on new enterprise agreements would hurt the business. 
  • Other consequences of each of the above changes would be scaling down (43 per cent), more automation (29 per cent), shifting resources or investment overseas (18 per cent), or being forced to close (13 per cent). 


“WA jobs are now at risk,” said CCIWA CEO Chris Rodwell. “These are the honest views of WA businesses of all sizes and across all sectors. They reflect that this IR legislation, which seeks to secure jobs and better pay, is more likely to do the opposite. The risks to people’s jobs are heightened. The pressure on wages will more likely be downward not upward.” 

In contrast to the Government’s approach, WA businesses said they could employ more staff and pay higher wages if the Government reduced regulatory burden (77 per cent), simplified awards (65 per cent), lowered taxes (54 per cent) and made it easier to strike mutually beneficial enterprise agreements (45 per cent). 

LEARN MORE: What the Federal IR changes mean for your business 

“These are precisely what CCIWA advised the Government at the Jobs and Skills Summit,” Rodwell said. 

CCIWA will travel to Canberra this month to make strong representations on behalf of Members. It follows our submission to a Senate Inquiry examining the Bill.

“It is critical that the Federal Government split out these controversial measures to enable meaningful consultation with employers and substantial redrafting,” Rodwell said. 


Our Employee Relations Advice Centre is also available to respond to your questions on (08) 9365 7660, or via [email protected]

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