- Forming a national industrial system to replace separate state and federal systems;
- Establishing the “Australian Fair Pay Commission” to replace National Wage Cases at the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC);
- Stream-lining of Certified Agreement and Australian Workplace Agreement making;
- Including increasing the maximum agreement life from 3-5 years;
- Reduction in allowable award matters;
- Legislating 5 enforcable workplace conditions;
- Exempting companies with less than 100 employees from unfair dismissal laws;
- Exempting all companies from unfair dismissal laws if dismissal is for a bona fide operational reason;
- Increasing restrictions on allowable industrial action;
- Mandating secret ballots for industrial action;
- Discouraging pattern bargaining and industry-wide industrial action.
will not boost Australia’s workforce productivity. Instead he sees the major possible growth in productivity coming from mincreased investment in human and physical capital.
Davis claimed that Australian regulation of labour markets was only slightly more onerous than that of the US and that the extent of product market regulation was about the same. But Australian workers are less educated than US workers and industry was less capital intensive.
Treasurer Costello won’t be pleased. Last year he said ‘I can think of no single reform which would boost productivity in the Australian economy to the same extent as real, vigorous industrial relations reform’.
The comments were made at a Productivity Commission seminar. Apart from this abstract I couldn’t find documentation but when I do I’ll try to post an online link.
Update: The finding that productivity growth is not primarily related to microeconomic reforms was advanced by NOIE in 2004. Here the evidence was that investment in information and communications technology (ICT) is more important. The same conclusion has recently been reached in a March 2006 report to Minister Coonan by her Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts suggesting that ICT will be the main driver of productivity growth over the next 20 years. The authors of this report cautiously note that ‘in order to realise the predicted productivity benefits it will be necessary to support an appropriate level of investment in skill formation and in ICT related R&D’ (p. 6).