“The summit should be followed by a period of extensive consultation within the community,” the joint statement said.
“While there are clear limits to the extent of consultations possible at the Jobs and Skills Summit itself, the preparation of the Jobs White Paper offers many other opportunities for much wider engagement. .”
The three main employers’ organizations stressed that their common objectives were to build more flexibility into the work system, focusing on productivity to increase wages and investment in skills.
But they also warned against radical change, saying that “the broad policy settings that underpinned Australia’s long recession-free period (before the pandemic) and contributed to the recovery in growth since the COVID-19 must be kept”.
BCA chief executive Jennifer Westacott said “the summit is a chance to find common ground and agree on the major resets needed to position Australia for the future, but we can’t solve all the problems overnight, so the process that follows will be crucial”.
Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox said agreements supporting renewed skills migration and strengthening the country’s skills base can be “key elements of our economic well-being”.
“Similarly, there’s a lot of commonality in recognizing that to build collaboration, our system of workplace relationships needs to be streamlined rather than changed,” he said.
“There is obviously a lot of detailed work to be done after the summit in drafting a white paper to guide progress on key political agreements.”
ACCI Chief Executive Andrew McKellar said “the realignment of the global economy presents significant challenges to simply maintaining, let alone improving, the economic growth and broader well-being needed to deliver prosperity. national”.
“The Jobs and Skills Summit offers a crucial opportunity to revitalize productivity, raise wages and keep our standard of living high.”
BCA-ACTU agreement on EBAs “unclear”
Earlier on Tuesday, ACTU chair Michele O’Neil downplayed the prospect of a deal on corporate talks with the BCA ahead of the jobs summit, saying the status of any deal is not was “unclear”.
She also twice declined to answer the question of whether an agreement would apply the same bargaining rules to unionized and non-unionized agreements.
“When we reach an agreement and if we reach agreements, they become public agreements. We do not make them public while we are involved in discussions,” she told reporters.
“These are discussions happening at all levels as we approach the summit and hopefully there will be more that will become public by then, but it’s not clear.”
ACTU Secretary Sally McManus has previously said the BCA and the ACTU support the idea that bargaining should be ‘simple and fair’.
Referring to Hawke and Keating’s enterprise trading system, she told ABC on Sunday “I think we can get really close to it and maybe even do better and make it really simple.”
Ms Westacott also said last week that the BCA was looking to ‘advance’ the principles it had negotiated with the ACTU in 2020, where the two sides offered to relax company agreement requirements, but only to agreements with unions.
She said those principles include making BOOT “better globally no better in every circumstance”.
It also involved getting rid of testing whether workers on hypothetical slate scenarios would be better off than the minimum and prohibiting the commission from “trying to rewrite and micromanage” an agreement where the parties followed proper processes. Third parties who have not been party to an agreement would also be prohibited from “com[ing] at the last minute and blow[ing] agreement upwards”.