Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Bill Shorten and Minister for Small Business Brendan O’Connor today met with a number of small business representatives as part of the Government’s ongoing consultations on the recommendations arising from the Fair Work Act Review (the Review).
Today's meeting, hosted by the Fair Work Ombudsman, was a further opportunity for the Government to consult with small business on the Review recommendations, after initial consultations were held in August following the release of the Review report.
The General Manager of Fair Work Australia also attended the meeting in Melbourne to provide small business representatives with information about how unfair dismissal claims are managed and resolved under the Fair Work Act.
“This was an opportunity for all concerned parties to get together and to hear some frank and direct views from small business representatives about the Review recommendations and workplace relations generally,” Mr Shorten said.
“The Government is considering recommendations to enhance Fair Work Australia’s ability to deal with unfair dismissal claims, and to provide disincentives for frivolous or vexatious unfair dismissal claims."
“It is important to note the Review noted key aspects of the Fair Work reforms which are of benefit to all businesses, including small business. This includes the reduction in regulation achieved through the award modernisation process.”
The Small Business Superannuation Clearing House provided a presentation on how the Clearing House can assist small businesses to easily and efficiently manage their superannuation contribution obligations.
Mr Shorten said small business representatives were impressed that since July 2010 the Clearing House had transferred $484 million in super payments for nearly 33,000 small businesses, covering 200,000 plus employees.
Mr O’Connor said the latest meeting was an opportunity for small business representatives to get a deeper appreciation of the work that these agencies do and the services they can provide.
“The Australian Government is committed to working with small businesses to get the balance of workplace relations right for employees and employers,” Mr O’Connor said.
“Small businesses are the foundation of our economic prosperity and the Government is committed to helping them prosper.
“The Review panel carefully considered the needs of small business and held two roundtable discussions with small business representatives.
“Today was a further opportunity to engage with small business representatives to hear their concerns and discuss the Review findings - however the Government is also keen to work with small businesses on a range of workplace matters."
Attendees also received a tour of the Fair Work Ombudsman Infoline call centre, to see the people assisting employers and employees with their workplace relations queries every day.
The report of the independent review of the Fair Work Act - Towards more productive and equitable workplaces: An evaluation of the Fair Work Act, was released in August and is available at http://www.deewr.gov.au/WorkplaceRelations/Policies/FairWorkActReview/Pages/Home.aspx