Business News Releases

AMMA acknowledges Paul Howes’ leadership

 

 

NATIONAL resource industry employer group AMMA acknowledges Paul Howes’ contribution to the union movement and industrial relations landscape, following today’s announcement that he will step down as national secretary of the Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) in July.

 

“AMMA and our members wish Paul Howes all the best in the next phase of his career,” AMMA chief executive Steve Knott says.

 

“In serving the union movement as national secretary of the AWU and vice president of the ACTU, Mr Howes has achieved a great deal in what is still a developing career. I have no doubt he will make a strong impact in his next position.”

 

Mr Knott acknowledged the important role of the AWU in the hard rock mining, metal smelting and oil and gas industries; all sectors in which AMMA members operate.

 

“During Mr Howes’ AWU leadership, AMMA has enjoyed both a constructive and sometimes robust relationship with the union and its officials. However, this has generally occurred in the prism of our respective members’ best interests,” he says.

 

“Mr Howes and I both take the representation of our members very seriously and as such have had some very public disagreements. Nonetheless, we have a strong history of constructive industrial relations away from the public eye and AMMA looks forward to continuing this with the AWU leadership.

 

“AMMA has also worked positively with Mr Howes behind the scenes to progress new resource project investment, another area in which we appreciate his support and insight.”

 

Mr Knott also urged the union movement to take note of Mr Howes’ recent recognition of Australia’s uncompetitive workplace relations environment.

 

“We urge Mr Howes’ successor and fellow leaders of the union movement to heed his warning that our tumultuous industrial relations system is damaging the economy. In particular, attention should be given to his criticism of unstainable wage inflation in the offshore sector, which is not conducive to a globally exposed industry,” he says.

 

“The union movement should work with resource employers and the Abbott Government to ensure our industry remains an attractive place to invest and employ people.

 

“AMMA wishes Mr Howes well in his next career move and looks forward to continuing a productive relationship with the AWU.”

www.amma.org.au

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Retailers still fuming at FWC shock junior wage rate decision

PEAK retail industry body the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) strongly condemned the Fair Work Commission (FWC) inexplicable decision last Friday to abolish junior wage rates for 20 year old employees.

ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said retailers are outraged at the decision which was based on no evidence and will kill jobs for youth as well as hinder skills developments.

“This junior wage increase will severely hit retailers financially, as well as change the face of employment for 20 year olds.

“Young people are done a disservice if our system of wage regulation locks them out of employment opportunities – and it is now clear that young people will be forced to compete against older and more experienced job-seekers.

“Unfortunately, youth unemployment is at its highest level in 11 years and with the unions case to remove junior wage rates now successful, young Australians are going to find employment near impossible.

“What retailer is going to employ a young Australian without any experience in the industry, when they can employ someone a few years older with more experience for exactly the same wage? This decision will prove detrimental to both employers and employees.

“Friday’s decision was also inconsistent with previous FWC decisions, making it obvious this was a narrow review. Previous FWC decisions have held that major changes like this require expert evidence.

“The retail sector is struggling, and although the industry is just starting to show signs of improvement in terms of retail employment, this is certainly a major setback.

“The ARA is looking into all possible appeal options and will be raising this matter directly with Minister Abetz, as well as instructing its legal team to look at all options to address this poor decision.

"The ARA will also fight against the already promised claims from the union movement to move on under 20 year old pay rates,” Mr Zimmerman said.

s $258 billion retail sector, which employs over 1.2 million people. The ARA ensures retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 5,000 independent and national retail members throughout Australia.

Visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.

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Fair Work junior wage Union win to devastate youth employment and crush retailers: ARA

 

PEAK retail industry body the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has strongly condemned the Fair Work Commission (FWC) junior wage decision which risks the future of Australian retail workers after the FWC today announced that 20 year old employees will now be paid adult rates.

ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said the shock decision was based on no evidence and will kill jobs for youth as well as hinder skills developments. 

"This decision is inconsistent with previous FWC decisions, making it obvious this was a narrow review. Previous FWC decisions have held that major changes like this require expert evidence.

“It is extremely concerning to business in Australia that the only substantial decisions coming out of the 2012 Review resulted in increased conditions for employees and increased costs for employers. 

“The ARA calls on the new government and Employment Minister Abetz to do everything in his power to halt this increase and fight against the already promised claims from the union movement to move on under 20 year old pay rates. 

“The former government should be ashamed at the dishonest approach it took to this case – they provided the FWC with deliberately misleading information and supported a flimsy case when they took the polar opposite approach to the ARA’s application to allow some relief on Sunday penalty rates. 

“This junior wage increase will severely hit retailers financially, as well as change the face of employment for 20 year olds. 

“We know that youth unemployment is at its highest level in 11 years, and with the unions case to remove junior wage rates now successful, young Australians are going to really struggle to find employment and support themselves through their studies. 

“What retailer is going to employ a young Australian without any experience in the industry, when they can employ someone a few years older with more experience for exactly the same wage? This decision will prove detrimental to both employers and employees.

“Retailers and young Australians have been reliant on pay rates to enable retail to bring on low-skilled young staff and increase their skill levels. Young employees will now find it extremely difficult to find vital training and development opportunities.

“The industry has already been hit with increases to Sunday wages as we transition to 100 percent on Sundays and 50 percent on Saturdays, and if the adult rate is taken down to 18 and 19 year olds then we will see an even larger percentage of youth unemployed.

“The inflexibility in wage costs has already forced some retailers to become unviable or not open on peak trading days such as Sunday.

“Weaker labour market conditions also argue for moderation in the Annual Minimum Wage Review, particularly against the backdrop of a record low youth participation rate and an almost three percent contraction in youth employment in the past year. Young people are done a disservice if our system of wage regulation locks them out of employment opportunities.

“The retail sector is struggling, and although the industry is just starting to show signs of improvement in terms of retail employment, this is certainly a blow to employment confidence,” Mr Zimmerman said.

Visit http://www.fwc.gov.au/decisionssigned/html/2014FWCFB1846.htm to view the decision

s $258 billion retail sector, which employs over 1.2 million people. The ARA ensures retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 5,000 independent and national retail members throughout Australia.

Visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.

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Co-operation to unlock sustained prosperity - QRC

 

Queensland Resources Council has acknowledged passage of the Regional Planning Interests Act 2014 in the Parliament as a foundation for delivering a better system of planning for regional Queensland.

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche said the Act is the culmination of more than a decade’s work by Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney – both in opposition and in government.

"Jeff Seeney is passionate about maximising opportunities for regional Queensland communities," Mr Roche said.

"As a major driver of economic growth in regional Queensland, the minerals and energy sector welcomes this renewed focus on outcomes in terms of jobs, growth, opportunity and sustainable prosperity."

Mr Roche said that for the first time, Queensland has a system of regional plans focused on cooperation between compatible land uses. 

"While the Act creates new categories of land use priorities, the focus is on delivering practical and productive coexistence.

"The industries we represent see this as an opportunity to enhance their contribution to the government’s economic, social and environmental goals."

Mr Roche said the draft bill had benefited from intensive scrutiny by stakeholders and a multi-party Parliamentary Committee.

"The QRC’s submissions echoed suggestions made from stakeholders as diverse as the Queensland Murray-Darling Committee, the Queensland Law Society and the Queensland Farmers’ Federation.

"Two aspects of this process came through with flying colours – the contribution of the Parliamentary Committee for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning chaired by MP David Gibson – and the Deputy Premier’s willingness to hear the views of all stakeholders," Mr Roche said.

The committee’s 22 recommendations generated 110 amendments to the final Act.

Mr Roche said that in tabling the Bill, the Deputy Premier provided draft regulations for public comment that will give detail to a regional planning vision.

"QRC members will embrace the opportunity to help develop this important step recognising that coexistence is the key to unlocking sustained prosperity for regional Queensland."

www.qrc.org.au

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Government must remove tax burdens to allow Australian retailers to lead jobs growth

 

PEAK retail industry body the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) welcomed the latest Ernst and Young report which confirmed Government employment data and highlighted the fact that the retail sector will lead jobs growth through to 2020. 

ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said the Ernst and Young report also indicated that if the Government doesn’t remove obstructions such as Low Value Threshold (LVT) GST in relation to goods under $1000, this predicted jobs growth and overall jobs growth in the economy will be put at risk.. 

“There are several significant cost factors that have blocked jobs growth in recent years. Clearly, as indicated in this report, overseas businesses are getting away with paying no tax while Australian retailers must pay tax – and this is costing us Australian jobs. This significant cost to employment will continue unless urgently addressed. 

“The ARA represents both large and small independent retailers, including Australian online retailers, and our members see the impacts of overseas businesses avoiding taxes every day.

"Ernst and Young estimates more than 93,000 jobs have already been foregone to the growth of online retailing, and by 2020, more than 142,000 traditional retail jobs will have been lost. It is time to act to ensure these jobs can be transitioned within Australia.

“Australia can also not afford the $6 billion in lost GST revenue to the states between now and 2020 as a result of the LVT staying at $1000. A loss of $6 billion in GST revenue to fund our much needed community and emergency services is simply unacceptable. 

“The Ernst and Young report also shows some 87,990 jobs being generated over the next four years. 

"In states such as Victoria where there have been significant manufacturing job losses, we know firsthand that retailers are creating many valuable jobs such as support roles in the retail sector to make up for the employment slack. 

“The ARA continues to meet with the Federal Government and State Treasurers on reducing the LVT GST and is seeking meetings with new State Treasurers including the new Western Australian Treasurer to finalise its reduction. 

“Based on the Ernst and Young forecasts, when the LVT GST is abolished, between $10 billion and $16.8 billion will move back to Australian online and traditional retailers from overseas businesses. This is simply too important to ignore,” Mr Zimmerman said. 

ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman is a key note speaker at next week’s red tape reduction forum in Canberra.

As additional measures to help the retail sector, Mr Zimmerman will be advocating the need to remove red tape, address market dominance issues through efficient delivery and competition policy along with the need to have sensible workplace penalty rates put in place through the Fair Work Commission process.

s $265 billion retail sector, which employs over 1.2 million people. The ARA ensures retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 5,000 independent and national retail members throughout Australia.

Visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.

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