Following the release of the latest wages and labour market data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), builders are urging the government to use caution when proposing measures that will stifle competition says Master Builders Australia CEO Denita Wawn.
Unemployment has reached a historic low of 3.4 per cent for October 2022 and wages have grown 3.2 per cent in the year to September 2022.
“The latest ABS data shows private sector businesses including building and construction are continuing to drive an increase in wages as it faces the challenges of a tight labour market.
“You have to ask why the government is proposing a complex, overregulated industrial relations Bill at a time when it is reliant on business to deliver higher wages for their employees.
“Making it easier for businesses to attract talent in a competitive economy is done by reducing regulation, improving the bargaining process at the individual-enterprise level, and allowing more flexibility when competing for talent. Scooping employers up in multi-employer bargaining arrangements will not achieve this.
“The building and construction sector has consistently had wages growth exceed other industries, pay above award rates and have high levels of full-time employment.
“Builders are calling on the government to ensure its policies are targeted to fighting inflation, protecting growth, and boosting productivity, not getting distracted by big union wishlists that counteract this.
“The Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill must be considered with reference to current national economic conditions and the current challenges these bring to workplaces.
“Builders are alarmed that this Bill has capacity to result in adverse impacts to national economic prosperity and future job creation.
“A strong and flexible industrial relations system underpins a competitive, modern, and productive economy.
“The economy relies on a strong building and construction sector, one which employs one in ten working Australians, contributes three dollars back into the economy for every one dollar invested and is entrenched across many sectors from manufacturing, professional services and local small businesses.
“The Senate must resist the pressure from the unions to pursue industrial relations policies that will have an adverse effect on low unemployment, productivity, and impact real wages in the long-term,” said Ms Wawn.
National Director, Media & Public Affairs
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