Future Perfect: Repairing a broken system
On 21 May, Australia elected a new government, and we’ve seen a flurry of changes in the months since.
Getting the most coverage recently have been proposals to reform Australia’s industrial relations system, and some of these changes could bring significant benefits to workers in the post-secondary sector.
These changes include a push to allow industry-wide bargaining, a change which would most benefit lower paid workers. If this were to be introduced for the post-secondary sector, the current ‘floor’ for wages and conditions set by the award would be raised to that set by a new industry-wide agreement.
Other changes include a proposal to regulate the so-called ‘gig’ economy (think Uber drivers and delivery workers) more tightly. Currently employers can operate with the fiction that some employees are in fact independent contractors (a trend that was given some impetus by the High Court decision on casual workers back in February).
The government has already had some success in providing assistance to workers in lower-paid sectors like ELICOS when their proposal for higher award increases was accepted by the Fair Work Commission back in June, so there is genuine hope that we may soon see some badly-needed repair of Australia’s broken industrial system.
Read more Future Perfect (September 2022):