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CCI poised for battle

WITH the State election looming, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of WA may have to go into battle over industrial reform just to keep the status quo, according to outgoing CCI president Graham Greig.

Mr Greig was concerned what a Labor victory at the next State poll would mean for industrial relations, particularly following recent comments by the Opposition that it would wind back key elements of the labour market reforms.

“We have responded in the strongest possible terms to Labor’s stance which is quite contrary to our policies and CCI will continue to oppose its position vehemently,” Mr Greig said.

“As welcome and as positive as the calm of recent times has been, I fear that the year ahead may require a return to the industrial relations battleground to defend the ground that has been made.”

He said workplace agreements and individual contracts had contributed significantly to WA’s economic and employment growth.

“Yet, in spite of the benefits flowing through the community and the economy from this deregulation, we now find ourselves facing adversaries who for political reasons are advocating a reversion to a system dominated by unions and industrial awards,” Mr Greig said.

“This backward looking approach is not limited to the Labor Party and the trade unions – the Democrats have repeatedly blocked attempts by the Howard Government to pass further reform legislation.”

Mr Greig said that during his time as chamber president he had learned that its work on behalf of business was never done.

“It has to fight to get good policies, then it has to continue its fight to keep them,” he said.

“An example is the situation we have now in the industrial relations arena, where we cannot assume the improvements the Chamber struggled long and hard for are safe and will remain in place.”

Banking identity Tony Howarth has replaced Mr Greig as CCI president.

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