Closing Loopholes Bill – IR reforms will create a hole in economy

24 October, 2023

The Closing Loopholes Bill – IR reforms will ‘create a hole in economy’, CCIWA tells hearing

During a recent Senate committee hearing on industrial relations (IR) reforms in Perth, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia (CCIWA) articulated the concerns of local businesses. The committee was apprised of the potential adverse consequences of the Federal Government’s proposed reforms, including potential job losses, reduced productivity, and damage to Australia’s global standing.

CCIWA CEO, Chris Rodwell, highlighted the sweeping implications of the proposed legislation, stating, “This legislation goes way further than fixing a supposed loophole. Its coverage will be broad, and in seeking to fix a loophole, it will create a hole in our economy and thwart our ambitions to play an oversized role in the energy transition.”

Rodwell emphasised the significance of the committee’s visit to Perth, underscoring the uniqueness of Western Australia and the necessity of local businesses being heard on these matters.

As part of their advocacy efforts, CCIWA conducted a comprehensive survey involving over 600 businesses across diverse sectors. The survey revealed that the most concerning aspects of the Closing Loopholes Bill were the alterations related to casual employment and the use of labour hire.

Survey Results – Casual Employment

  • 73% of respondents believed that the proposed changes would be detrimental
  • 56% stated they would cease hiring casual workers, potentially jeopardising 17,900 WA businesses and 64,800 jobs.
  • The agriculture, hospitality, and retail sectors expressed the greatest apprehension.

Survey Results – Casual Employment

  • 60% of those surveyed regarded the changes as harmful
  • 49% anticipated reducing staff levels,
  • 27% anticipated a diminished ability to tender
  • 23% foreseeing a need to scale down their business operations.

Aaron Morey, CCIWA’s Chief Economist, welcomed the robust discussion on the matter. He emphasised the potential harm the Bill could inflict on the Western Australian economy, particularly affecting small and family businesses.

Morey, who appeared before the committee alongside Chris Rodwell and Ryan Martin, CCIWA’s Workplace Relations Associate Director, stressed the importance of acknowledging the concerns of local businesses and their specific operational challenges. He underscored that Western Australia’s economy, heavily reliant on mining, would be significantly impacted by several provisions within the Bill.

CCIWA has advocated for revisions to the Bill, seeking to address the concerns of the local business community. Their detailed submission on the matter is available for review.