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Workplace Relations Framework Review

In December last year, the Federal Government announced its terms of reference for the inquiry into Australia’s Workplace Relations Framework Review.

The review is being undertaken by the Productivity Commission and invites feedback on how improvements can be made to develop more, “productive, rewarding,
competitive and harmonious workplaces”, as stated by Minister for Employment, Eric Abetz.

The Issues Paper was later released in late January 2015. Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF), along with Dairy Australia, lodged a submission in March, focusing on the need for greater flexibility in the Fair Work Act.

In particular, we are seeking greater flexibility with the award system, which will help the dairy industry take full advantage of growth opportunities.
The removal of the Pastoral Award 2010’s three-hour minimum engagement, which states that staff employed on a farm must be rostered for a minimum of
three hours per shift, was cited as a strong example of the current award system’s rigidity.

At the moment, this clause has a number of negative ramifications on farm business operations as it does not acknowledge the unique workforce requirements
of the dairy industry, where cows need to be milked twice daily. As a result, the clause removes any incentives for staff to milk in a time-efficient
manner and often milkers go home early, where farmers pay for time when no work is performed.

The Productivity Commission is expected to release a draft report in July 2015. For more information about this submission, please contact ADF Policy Officer,
Kelly Im: kim@australiandairyfarmers.com.au.

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