Report from the Summit

It was my pleasure recently to be one of the 80 attendees at the National Reform Summit

The National Reform Summit, jointly convened by The Australian Financial Review and The Australian newspapers and KPMG, was attended by individuals representing business, unions, politics, community groups and academia. Inherent in the Summit was the need to compromise across the various interest groups. While this provided for an uncomfortable environment for discussion, there was agreement around areas in common and those in which the difference of view was too hard to bridge.

Four key areas of reform were identified, along with specific goals, challenges and principles for reform, lifting productivity growth and workforce participation, fiscal policy for a growing economy, tax reform and sustainable retirement income policy. In my contribution to the Summit I raised that additional employment will only be created where it stacks up for employers. I mentioned that this is going to be most likely, in the future, to be small, service based employers such as restaurants, cafes and caterers. The Summit outcome document references the need for productivity growth. It recognises that ‘workplace relations arrangements should be responsive to the changing nature of work and meet the needs of the modern workplace’. This was agreed between the employer parties and the unions. Perhaps it is recognition by the unions that things are changing.

John Hart

CEO, Restaurant & Catering

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