AMMA says future of work needs modern workplace relations system

Tuesday, 27 February, 2018

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The Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA) has called for greater efforts by Australia’s policymakers to modernise the nation’s workplace relations system in a submission to a Senate inquiry into future work considerations. The organisation says the modernisation is critical to supporting the future of work in the resources and energy industry.

AMMA’s submission to the Senate Select Committee on the Future of Work and Workers notes two broad trends are defining the future of work in resources and energy: the rapid development of new technologies and increasing desires of many Australians for flexible, non-traditional work opportunities.

“The uptake of new technologies is creating a demographic shift in the skills and expertise required in the resources and energy industry,” explained AMMA Director Industry Services Tara Diamond.

“Remote operating centres, for example, are centralising operational and technical expertise in CBD hubs, with direct connectivity to remote mine sites where fewer personnel remain on the ground. Further, automation technologies are removing humans from the front line in the resources extraction process, resulting in enormous improvements in safety, productivity and efficiency.

“This trend requires government responses on many levels, including policies to support regional economies and communities through this transition, further government support towards innovation research and development, and training for the new skills and expertise required by Australian workers to operate and maintain such technologies.”

AMMA’s submission also details how the desires of new generations of Australian workers for flexible employment opportunities is similarly shaping the future of work.

“The resources and energy industry is very diverse and traditionally has involved many different modes of work, but technological advancements are seeing the industry even further able to modernise and meet the evolving needs of the modern-day Australian,” said Diamond.

“Flexibility is highly valued and sought after by workers of all ages. Individuals are demanding greater choice and flexibility in the world of work and it’s important that any policy response from government encourages and facilities this.”

AMMA further submitted to the committee a strong case for urgent workplace relations reform, noting that nothing had been done with the recommendations for change arising from the Productivity Commission’s comprehensive 2015 inquiry into Australia’s workplace system.

“It is absolutely critical that the parliament considers how regulatory reform can better support the future of work and workers in Australia,” she said.

“The evidence is clear that Australia’s workplace system is overregulated, over-complex and better suited to the technologies, working patterns and societal demands of the 1970s than 2018 and beyond. We urge the committee to re-examine the recommendations of the Productivity Commission for improving Australia’s workplace relations system.

“Our national policymakers need urgently to consider and address the rigidity and complexity of our workplace relations system, and seek to remove the significant red tape and regulatory burdens that are impacting on business growth and thus future employment opportunities.”

Click here to see AMMA’s submission for a list of its recommendations on improving Australia’s workplace relations system and better supporting the future of work.

Image credit: © Dragunov

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