Release type: Media Release


Productivity Commission Review of the Fair Work Laws Release of the Draft Report


Senator the Hon Eric Abetz
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for Employment
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service
Senator for Tasmania

The Productivity Commission has today released its draft report into the Fair Work Laws, commissioned by the Government following an election commitment.

The independent review was foreshadowed in the Coalition’s Policy to Improve the Fair Work Laws (released in May 2013). The terms of reference were carefully considered, in consultation with unions, employers and state governments.

“This draft report and its draft recommendations are now open for comment and I encourage employees, employers and their representatives to make further submissions as part of the consultation stage, before the Commission concludes its final report,” Minister for Employment, Senator Eric Abetz said today.

“I trust that Labor, the unions and all interested parties respond to this independent evidence based inquiry by having a genuine conversation about how the Fair Work Laws can work best for employees, employers and the economy as a whole.”

“Despite a deliberately misleading campaign by the ACTU – which commenced before this Review even began, the Productivity Commission’s draft report concludes that penalty rates and the minimum wage should continue to be determined by the Fair Work Commission. This has been the Government’s clear and consistent position on these issues.”

“The Productivity Commission has not recommended any changes to overtime, night work or shift allowances. It has rather, respectfully asked the Fair Work Commission to consider some additional evidence. This is consistent with the Government’s stated approach to penalty rates that it is not for Government to set or change penalty rates.”

“Similarly, the draft report only recommends that the Fair Work Commission seek additional evidence when it sets the minimum wage in future. This is consistent with the Government’s stated approach that it is not for Government to set or change minimum wages.”

“While the Government will not draw conclusions based on this draft report, it is clear that a number of its draft recommendations align with those made by the Review of the Fair Work Act commissioned by Bill Shorten when he was Workplace Relations Minister, but not implemented.”

“Once the final report has been released, the Government will carefully consider all recommendations and those that the Government would seek to implement will be taken to the 2016 election to seek the endorsement of the Australian people,” Senator Abetz said.

Senator Abetz said this initial stage of the review had received 255 submissions, with 24 submissions being from unions, including the ACTU.

“I thank the Productivity Commission and its staff for their efforts in producing this draft report.”