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Submissions sought to build co-operative workplaces

Media Release

The Morrison Government is committed to improving Australia's industrial relations system to help boost jobs, wages, productivity and the overall strength of the economy.

As part of this process, a further discussion paper has been released today, seeking submissions from all interested stakeholders about ways to improve business productivity, grow wages and reduce industrial conflict through the promotion of harmonious and cooperative workplaces.

"Research shows that when employers and employees work together to improve the performance of a business, they jointly share in the benefits that flow from that collaboration, including improved productivity, higher wages, more innovation, greater job security and better prospects for career enhancement and skills development," Attorney-General, Christian Porter, said.

"Yet employee engagement levels in Australia are low compared to other countries such as the US and Canada. Workplaces where engagement levels are low have also been shown to suffer from higher levels of conflict and industrial unrest.

"This suggests to me that there is a significant opportunity to turn this situation around in Australian workplaces and, in the process, deliver strong benefits for employers, employees and the national economy.

"Importantly, legislative reforms are not required to achieve these sorts of positive outcomes. Instead, what is needed is fresh thinking and better management cultures that view and treat workers as assets, rather than merely as a cost of production."

Examples of ways to create cooperative and harmonious workplaces include:

  • giving workers a financial interest in the company through employee share schemes;
  • introducing reward and recognition systems such as performance based pay;
  • empowering employees by giving them a voice in the decision making process.

The aim of the discussion paper is to collect and collate examples of best practice from around Australia and the world, with a final report to be made publicly available as a tool to help businesses identify ways to improve their workplace cultures and practices.

The discussion paper can be viewed on the Industrial Relations Consultations page.

Submissions close on 28 February 2020.