New laws aimed at preventing unions from holding up the development of greenfield mining, oil and gas projects, will be introduced by the Abbot Government within three months.
The Abbott Government has also advised developers in the resources sector that it was better in the long term to delay the start of multi-billion dollar projects rather than agree to “extravagant union wages claims.”
Speaking to The West Australian today, Employment Minister Eric Abetz said “it was vital for the long-term interests of the nation that employers did not surrender to union tactics.”
“Some of the employers do argue that it is very difficult when you’ve got a stash of capital in the corner which is costing you big, big dollars in interest or forgone dividends when these extravagant wage claims are made,” he said.
“They then do an analysis and it’s easier and cheaper to give in to the wage demands in comparison to the interest or forgone dividends you are burning. If you look at the long-term picture one might come to the conclusion some short-term pain will in fact be a long-term gain.”
The government plans to amend the law, allowing the Fair Work Commission to arbitrate on negotiations in greenfield projects, if unions and employers could not agree on wages and conditions. The new laws will come into play by May of this year.