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Greens ready to amend Fair Work Act: Bandt

Media Release
Adam Bandt 2 Aug 2012

Greens Deputy Leader and workplace relations spokesperson Adam Bandt has welcomed the release of the Fair Work Act review and says the Greens are ready to work with the government on amending the Fair Work Act.

Mr Bandt said there are many positive recommendations in the report but also some areas of concern, such as the weakening of the 'better off overall test', new greenfields provisions and the removal of holiday penalty rates in some States and Territories.

The review had also missed an opportunity to propose real changes to address work/life balance as well as the growth in insecure, casual and precarious work, Mr Bandt said. There are also no recommendations to address the role of employers in prolonging disputes, such as the recent Victorian nurses dispute or the extreme industrial tactics of employers like Qantas.

The Greens want the government to move quickly on implementing the positive recommendations ahead of next year's election. The Greens will also seek additional changes as part of the process of implementing the Review.

"The Greens want to work with Minister Shorten to insulate workers from a possible Abbott government. The government needs to act swiftly on implementing the many positive recommendations in this Review," Mr Bandt said.

"We are concerned about some of the proposals, including the weakening of the 'better off overall test', limiting bargaining on greenfields sites and the possible removal of holiday penalty rates in some States and Territories."

"The Review has missed an opportunity to prevent extreme action from rogue employers like Qantas. The review also fails to provide a circuit-breaker for prolonged disputes like those that affected the Victorian nurses. We will seek changes in those areas as well as job insecurity and work/life balance."

"The recommendation on extending the right to request flexible arrangements is welcome, but should be backed up with an enforceable right. I will push for the provisions of my work/life balance bill to be including in any changes to the Fair Work Act."

Mr Bandt has released ten principles for industrial relations reform that will guide the Greens' negotiations on changes to the Fair Work Act.

The Greens will now consult with unions and employers while awaiting the Government's response.

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