What were the common themes?
Public submissions closed on 13 March 2015. The Commission reports that 76 public submissions were received from interested parties, which included large national employer groups, industrial associations, peak industry bodies, small business owners, consultants, academics and aggrieved individuals.
A number of private submissions were also made, but not published on the Commission’s website. Only three union entities publically made submissions as part of the broad inquiry, including The Australian Workers’ Union (AWU), the Australian Education Union, and the Queensland Council of Unions
The most common issue raised in the public submissions (64%) related to safety net arrangements, and in particular, penalty rates. Other key concerns addressed by interested parties related to enterprise bargaining and employee protections (e.g. unfair dismissal), with around 25% and 21% of submissions addressing this issue, respectively.
Although not publically available, the media has reported that major employer groups, such as the Australian Hotels Association called for a major economic review of penalty rates. It has also been reported that the Australian Industry Group (AI Group) raised concerns in respect of the awards system and penalty rates. It is understood that AI Group also called for changes to enterprise bargaining, long service leave requirements and employee protections.
'Similarly, Clubs Australia Industrial raised concerns in respect of penalty rates, and called on changes to enterprise bargaining provisions, and employee protections to deal more effectively with 'unmeritorious' claims'.
A draft report will be prepared in July, and the final report will be submitted in November.