Red tape, industrial reform on PM's agenda

Paul Osborne
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SCOTT MORRISON BCA ADDRESS

Scott Morrison has urged business leaders to 'make the case for change' in industrial relations

Scott Morrison has flagged cuts to business red tape and industrial relations changes as the next steps in the government's economic reform.

The prime minister told the Business Council of Australia's annual dinner in Sydney on Wednesday "the next wave of prosperity" would come from tackling productivity.

"Productivity is not about paying people less to do more, but enabling people to earn more from what they do each day. That's what our productivity agenda is about," he said.

Mr Morrison urged business leaders to "marshal the evidence and make the case for change" in the area of industrial relations.

The government is currently reviewing the industrial relations system, via a series of discussion papers which seek feedback from business on what aspects of the system are holding back growth and high-wage jobs.

"There is a persuasive argument that greater flexibility in the length of enterprise agreements can play an important role in attracting investment in major infrastructure, resources and energy projects," Mr Morrison said.

It was especially important giving the $250 billion of new project capital in the investment pipeline.

"Similarly, I would hope we can make progress on reducing the system's overall complexity. While the number of awards has reduced, it appears that they have not become simpler - indeed many believe that they have become more complex.

"The degree of administrative clutter associated with the compliance regime and the enterprise bargaining process can also detract from business improvements that can arise from working together for mutual benefit."

He said the government was also looking at a number of measures to ease the administrative burden on business, including a checklist to guide business owners looking to hire workers, easier business registration, a digital portal for major project environmental approvals and a smoother export permit system.

He also urged business to better harness digital technologies.