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Business council boss defends controversial industrial relations bill

3AW Mornings
Article image for Business council boss defends controversial industrial relations bill

The federal government’s industrial relations reform bill has been slammed by unions, but the CEO of the Business Council of Australia says the changes are “a big improvement on what we’ve got now”.

Proposed temporary changes to the better off overall test (BOOT) would allow the Fair Work Commission to ignore the test when considering enterprise agreements for businesses affected by COVID-19, even if they leave workers worse off.

The BOOT is designed to prevent workers from being disadvantaged under enterprise agreements which provide poorer working conditions than the industry award.

ACTU secretary Sally McManus has slammed the change saying it’s an “extreme proposal” and will cost workers.

But CEO of the Business Council of Australia, Jennifer Westacott, says that’s not true.

“All the parties have to agree … secondly, the Fair Work Commission has to agree, thirdly, it has to be in the public interest and it has to be for exceptional circumstances that are related to COVID,” she told Tony Jones, filling in for Neil Mitchell.

Ms Westacott said both employers and employees will benefit from the industrial relations reform.

“Casuals will now have a clear path to be made permanent, will have a definition,” she said.

“This is a big improvement on what we’ve got now.”

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Government acted in ‘bad faith’ over BOOT blindside

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