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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 15341

Weekly Radio Message - Workplace Reform

Photo of Howard, John

Howard, John

Period of Service: 11/03/1996 to 03/12/2007

More information about Howard, John on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 26/03/2007

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 15341

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Listen to this Speech (MP3 - 1.90Mb - 124secs)

Workplace reform is helping to maintain Australia's economic prosperity.

Tomorrow marks a year since the introduction of WorkChoices. In that time, 263,000 jobs have been created and real wages - that's your pay packet after inflation - have risen by 1.5 per cent.

There are now fewer industrial disputes than ever before with less than 15 days lost per thousand employees in the past 12 months.

When Labor was last in Government real wages went backwards and, on average, there were 13 times as many working days lost to industrial disputes.

If Labor wins the next federal election and the workplace reforms are reversed, it will take us back to the bad days of industrial strife and stagnant jobs growth.

It would be the first time in a generation that a major economic reform had been reversed in Australia.

It would send a signal to the world that we had downed tools on economic reform; that the task of maintaining prosperity was too hard. No-one wants to invest in a country going backwards.

Another important benefit of my Government's workplace reforms has been the impact on inflation through the decentralisation of wage fixing.

WorkChoices has delivered many benefits to the economy without putting pressure on wages.

The Reserve Bank says that in a centralised system, higher wages in one part of the economy flow through to another. This adds extra costs to the production of goods and services, leading to higher prices, thus putting pressure on interest rates.

The Governor of the Bank, Glenn Stevens says this no longer happens because business is able to make agreements at the workplace. He recently argued the behaviour of aggregate wages has been quite well contained given the pressures on the economy.

WorkChoices is helping to ensure that all Australians continue to share in the nation's prosperity.

[ends]

Listen to this Speech (MP3 - 1.90Mb - 124secs)

Transcript 15341