Wine industry IR issues not to be overlooked

Monday, Aug 10, 2015

Productivity Commission hearings into workplace relations reform and a second round of submissions will give the Australian wine industry more opportunities to highlight IR issues.

The commission has released a draft report which flags some modest proposed changes to the IR system.

The South Australian Wine Industry Association (SAWIA) in collaboration with the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) have announced they would be going back to the commission with industry’s feedback.

SAWIA Chief Executive Brian Smedley said the wine industry welcomed the opportunity to give evidence at the public hearings in September and it would also prepare a second, detailed submission.

“We have identified a range of IR changes that need to be made to get flexibility and balance back into the system to lift productivity and cut red-tape and compliance costs, particularly for many of the small businesses in the wine industry,” Mr Smedley said.

“We will continue to highlight industrial relations issues as they apply in the wine industry so they are not overlooked in the review,” he said.

“We will go through the draft report in detail, seek input from wine businesses around the country and go back to the commission with our recommendations.

“We will see where we can align and what additional considerations need to be looked at.

“As we highlighted to the commission in our initial submission, we need an industrial relations system that caters for the wine industry’s needs that includes cellar door retail operations through to seasonal fluctuations around harvest and vintage requirements.”

Federation Chief Executive Paul Evans said: “The upcoming hearings and the second submission round will give us opportunities to remind the commission and government about the wine industry’s significant contribution to regional economies.”

The Productivity Commission public hearings will be held from September 4-21. The commission’s final report should be with the Australian Government in November.

The Productivity Commission’s review covers the Fair Work Act 2009 (FWA), the Independent Contractors Act 2006, enterprise agreements, Modern Awards, and institutions operating under the Act, including the Fair Work Commission and the Fair Work Ombudsman. SAWIA and WFA plan to take part in the Productivity Commission’s public hearings scheduled for August/September 2015.