A Message from Hon Angie Bell MP

Last week in Parliament I spoke on the Albanese Government’s Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Bill 2022 to highlight the disastrous consequences that this Bill will have on small and medium sized businesses across the country, especially on the Gold Coast.

This Bill has unfortunately already passed the House and will now go to the Senate chamber for debate.

I’m sure that you know how much business is suffering under Federal and State Labor Governments. With electricity and gas prices forecasted to increase, inflation projected to reach 8% by the end of the year, property prices decreasing and the staff shortage crisis, conditions are deteriorating.

This legislation delivers the worst possible news for Australian small and family businesses. If you have more than 15 staff who are made up of full-time, part-time or casuals, you’ll be forced to deal with compulsory bargaining as unions will have the power to enter non-unionised workplaces.

Instead of looking after Australian businesses and families, and giving them a fair go, Labor’s Bill will:

  • Unfairly target small businesses – because these changes will be complicated, expensive and timely to wade through.
  • Open the door for unions into small businesses.
  • Hold up wage rises because of increased complexity and delays.
  • Force prices up and increase the cost of living further; and
  • Undermine competition, so Australians have fewer choices, but face higher costs.

As a Gold Coast business owner, you are the backbone of our local economy and I thank you for all you do for jobs and for our community. Gold Coasters have always had an unrivalled entrepreneurial spirit that deserves to be celebrated and rewarded. Our local businesses do not deserve to be treated this way by this Labor Government. No one from the Labor Party is looking after small and medium businesses because Labor just doesn’t get business.

Under the Albanese Government, unions will soon have more power to do as they please in Australian workplaces – including in your small and family business. There are over 32,000 small businesses in Moncrieff – the engine room of the Gold Coast economy – and I am extremely concerned about the negative impacts that multi-employer bargaining risks having on our local businesses. These risks jeopardise the important focus of employers and employees reaching agreements together at the enterprise level. Enterprise bargaining should be the foundation of our workplace relations system if we are to grow wages, improve job security and boost productivity.

Everyone wants to see higher wages for Australians, but this bill is bad for the economy, bad for business, bad for employers and bad for employees. Labor does not have the best interest of SMEs at heart, and that is clear through their lack of consultation with small business owners.

The Coalition will always stand up for small and medium sized business. We understand that successful businesses lead to a stronger economy, and we will continue to fight against these proposed changes – which have been deemed the most radical shake up of Australia’s industrial relations system winding the clock back to the 1970s and 80s.

If you would like to watch my speech in full, please see the video link below.

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