The change in Government leadership and the appointment of a new-look Cabinet has given manufacturers renewed hope, resulting in an immediate bounce in business and consumer confidence.
It will be interesting to see whether the Turnbull Government can achieve something the Abbott Government failed to do – reform Australia’s antiquated and restrictive Industrial Relations laws.
The Australian Industry Group, the peak body representing the industrial sector, claims the current workplace relations system is not delivering the adaptability that employers and employees need.
Urgent change is needed to restore the balance.
A Productivity Commission report has made several key recommendations aimed at creating a fairer system for both employers and employees. The report follows a wide-ranging inquiry into Australia's Workplace Relations Framework.
Recommendations include reducing Sunday penalty rates in the retail, fast food and hospitality industries and ending four-yearly award reviews.
And Fair Work’s lop-sided unfair dismissal laws should also be urgently reviewed.
Such recommendations do not sit well with the union movement, which has already indicated its resistance to such moves.
The Abbott Government was reluctant to wage a war with the unions over IR, to avoid another “WorkChoices” scare campaign and its impact on the electorate.
The Abbott government made a half-hearted attempt to push some IR reform measures through the Senate last year – which were firmly blocked by the Labor Opposition, Greens and cross benches.
It has since been pressured into taking a backseat in the community debate in industrial relations.
But times have changed.
We now have a golden opportunity to revisit those reforms by engaging in consultation with all interested parties.
Sitting on hands should not be an option.
It’s time for the Turnbull Government to step up and push for the PC’s recommendations to be implemented as a priority.
But before that can be achieved there needs to be a proper debate with all parties concerned.
At the same time we need a robust debate on tax reform to improve productivity and stimulate the economy.
It’s time for Government to stand up to union intimidation.
Enough is enough.
If Australia is to compete globally, and if we are to become a 24/7 economy, it’s time to make some urgent adjustments to our constrictive workplace laws.