Prime Minister Scott Morrison gave an address to the National Press Club today – the transcript is here.
As always with these things there seems to a lot to like and things to dislike.
This health and economic crisis has reminded us of just how much we depend on a strong and growing economy for our jobs, for our incomes, for our health and education services, our safety, our security, our social safety net of which we’re so proud.
To strengthen and grow our economy, the boats we need to go faster are the hundreds of thousands of small, and medium and large businesses that make up our economy and create the value upon which everything else depends.
Value created by establishing successful products and services, the ability to be able to sell them at a competitive and profitable price and into growing and sustainable markets. It’s economics 101.
That’s what happens in a sustainable and successful job making market economy.
Now, it is true that in the short term, demand stimulus by government can boost your economy. And that the Treasurer and I together with the Cabinet have supported this as an emergency response. But it must only be temporary.
At some point you’ve got to get your economy out of ICU.
You’ve got to get it off the medication before it becomes too accustomed to it.
We must enable our businesses to earn Australia’s way out of this crisis.
And that means focussing on the things that can make their businesses go faster.
The skilled labour businesses need to draw on, the affordable and reliable energy they need, the research and technology they can draw on and utilise, the investment capital and finance that they can access, the markets they can connect to, the economic infrastructure that supports and connects them, the amount of government regulation they must comply with, and the amount and the efficiency of the taxes they must pay, in particular whether such taxes encourage them to invest and to employ.
Now, beginning immediately, the Minister for Industrial Relations, the Attorney-General, Christian Porter will lead a new, time-bound, dedicated process bringing employers, industry groups, employee representatives and government to the table to chart a practical reform agenda, a job making agenda, for Australia’s industrial relations system.
The Minister will chair five working groups for discussion, negotiation and, hopefully, agreement to produce that JobMaker package in the following areas.
-Award simplification, what most small and medium sized businesses deal with with their employees every single day.
– Enterprise agreement making. We’ve got to get back to the basics.
– Casuals and fixed term employees, made even more prescient by recent changes through the Fair Work Commission.
– Compliance and enforcement. People should be paid properly and unions need to obviously do the right thing, as must employers.
– Greenfields agreements for new enterprises, where the new investment will go and the certainty is needed more so than ever.
Membership of each group will include employer and union representatives, as well as individuals chosen based on their demonstrated experience and expertise and that will include especially small businesses, rural and regional backgrounds, multicultural communities, women and families.
This process, as I said, will be time-bound and is expected to run through to September. We must make the most of this time we have and we must move quickly. It will become apparent very quickly if progress is to be made.
The working groups will either reach something approaching a consensus on issues or they won’t. But we’ve got to give it a go. Participation in the groups is being invited without prejudice to their positions.