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Fair Work Bill not fair enough

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 27 Feb 2009

The Australian Greens today identified significant gaps in the Government's industrial relations plans, with the release of the Senate Inquiry report into the Bill.

"The Government has missed the opportunity to fully reform Australia's industrial relations system," said Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert.

"The Bill keeps too many elements of the Work Choices regime. Individual agreements will continue to have the potential to exploit workers, the unfair dismissal laws don't go far enough, and the limited powers afforded to Fair Work Australia (FWA) are causes for concern."

"A major flaw in the Bill is the lack of independent dispute resolution for workplace disputes. Employees will need to go to Court to enforce their rights rather than access FWA to resolve disputes taking workplace justice out of reach for many."

"We are also deeply concerned about the potential for Individual Flexibility Agreements to be used like Australian Workplace Agreements to exploit vulnerable workers. We want to see employers required to lodge these agreements with FWA so they are open to public scrutiny," said Senator Siewert.

"This Bill turns its back on 100 years of Australian labour law that made such a profound contribution to Australia's sense of a ‘fair go'. The Greens will be proposing a series of amendments to address the concerns of those in the community."

"Australia voted at the last election for an end to Work Choices. Unfortunately, the Government seems reluctant to listen and act to restore genuine fairness and equality in the workplace," she concluded.

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