State wage case, Nature Positive reforms lead advocacy efforts

CCIWA’s Policy & Advocacy team has a proven track record of championing policy that will grow and diversify the economy. 
At any one time, we’re working on new policy papers, submissions to government reports and inquiries or responding to issues raised by our Members. 
In addition to our analysis on the Federal Budget and the State Budget, both released in May, here’s a snapshot of our work over April and May 2024. 

Policy Highlight: 

Every year, the WA Industrial Relations Commission (WAIRC) reviews the State’s Minimum Wage, known as the State Wage Case. The WAIRC seeks written and verbal submissions from key representatives, including CCIWA, UnionsWA, the Minister for Industrial Relations, WA Council of Social Services and WA Local Government Association.

Given CCIWA is the only representative of business interests, it’s critical that we mount a case against unsustainable wage increases. In line with last year’s approach, this year, CCIWA called for a “unspecified flat dollar increase” to support the needs of the low paid, without creating additional inflationary pressures. We also provided a submission in reply.

Noting the cost pressures that businesses, particularly those represented in the State system are facing, it was very disappointing to see the Commission award a 6.3% increase to the State Minimum Wage and 4% increase to the Award rates of pay. 

Focal Point:

The Federal Government’s environmental reform legislation (“Nature Positive”) remains a key area of focus. After a series of trips to attend closed-door consultations in Canberra and calls for proper consultation with industry, on April 16, the Federal Government changed its approach to progress the reform in a staged approach.

  • Stage 1 retrospectively includes a ‘water trigger’ for gas projects, and the Nature Repair Market Act which rewards landowners for land rehabilitation. 
  • Stage 2 includes the landmark legislation to create a new national Environment Protection Agency (EPA), duplicating the role of State-based EPAs, and the establishment of a new library of environmental information, (Environment Information Australia).  
  • Stage 3 will include the development of a new community consultation standard, First Nations standard, the development of a restoration calculators and standards related to matters of environmental significance. The final legislative package is expected to be released in full sometime in the next 12 months.  

We continue to hold deep concerns about the impact of these reforms on our State’s economy, including for projects related to housing, resources, defence, critical minerals, agriculture and the energy transition. To this end, CCIWA has called for the legislation related to Stage 2 to be assessed by a Senate Parliamentary Committee, and for the Committee Hearings to be held in Perth, given WA is most at risk. 

We’re committed to highlighting the impact the Federal Government’s environmental agenda could have on WA – keep an eye out for future invitations to roundtables and surveys. 

In other Federal policy areas:  
In other State policy areas:  
  • We wrote to the Treasurer about our concerns with respect to the Western Australian Best Practice Industrial Conditions for government projects, which we believe will have the effect of adding cost pressures across the economy.  
  • We provided input into the State Government’s Digital Industries Acceleration Strategy, focusing on service delivery outcomes matching investment, identifying the skills and infrastructure for future needs, and supporting industry through payroll tax reform. 

In the Media: 

“Just as households are grappling with rising costs, so too are small and family businesses and wages have grown significantly in recent years. 

This decision further underlines the need for the State Government to ease the pressure on businesses. The best way they can do that is to reduce payroll tax.” 

 CCIWA CEO Chris Rodwell in The West Australian, June 13, 2024 

 

To find out more about what we stand for, visit our Advocacy page. 

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