The 2013-14 Budget was announced by Treasurer Wayne Swan in Canberra last night, and as the dust settles for another year there are mixed feelings on just how employers will be affected.
Professor Greg Bamber from the department of management at Monash University labelled the latest figures a ‘legacy-building budget’. “The budget allocates more than $5m extra per annum to the Fair Work Commission to deal with vexed challenges of settling disputes about bullying,” he said – indicating this will be a key battleground for employers in the future. What’s more, the commission was also granted funds of more than $6m over the next four years to establish a pay equity unit.
“Initially, this will focus on the early childhood education and care sectors. It had already been announced that these sectors will receive more funding to increase pay for these important workers who are low paid. It is appropriate that people who care for some of the most vulnerable members of society get a fairer deal at work,” Bamber commented.
For Australian Industry Group, the budget is one that is at risk of being too optimistic about Australia's growth prospects, terms of trade, corporate tax receipts and the recovery of housing construction. “The Budget fails to introduce much-needed new measures to boost investment, innovation, competitiveness and productivity," Ai Group CEO Innes Willox said today. “The opportunity to lift our competitiveness by committing to reduce the company tax rate has been missed and will need to be addressed in the near future,” he added.
Ai Group said pointed to some key positive measures in the budget which will assist industry to work through the current economic conditions. These include:
Important infrastructure investments that will lift capacity and productivity;
Increasing the flexibility of apprenticeships and aligning the apprenticeship system more closely to industry needs;
The Skills Connect initiative aimed at helping businesses meet their training needs;
Maintaining the immigration intake at 190,000; and
Bringing forward expenditure under the Clean Technology Investment Fund to help businesses invest in energy efficiency and low-emissions processes.