Mining bosses dig in over 'extreme' workplace laws

Mining industry bosses have used a glittering industry event to face off with the prime minister over proposed workplace laws.

"Let’s not sugar coat it," Minerals Council of Australia CEO Tania Constable told Anthony Albanese at an industry dinner at Parliament House in Canberra.

"These industrial relations changes are some of the most extreme interventionist workplace changes that have ever been proposed in Australia," she said.

Under laws introduced to parliament on Monday, federal Labor wants to stop employers from using labour hire firms to undermine the pay and conditions of permanent workers.

According to the government, the new laws are not an attack on labour hire being used to plug workforce shortages. 

But the industry says it already faces global competition for talent and investment capital, and broader cost pressures that are causing budget blowouts for critical projects.

"At a time when we need to flex our industrial muscle and seize our moment, these changes ensure we fight with our hands tied behind our backs," Ms Constable said.

Australia needs to unlock investment in critical minerals but these changes - along with environment, emissions and energy policies - will push capital to other countries, she warned.

Mr Albanese said workers and businesses can shape the big economic changes underway in the world and make them work for everyone.

"To build an economy where productivity, wages and living standards grow together and all Australians share in the benefits," he told the industry audience.

Mr Albanese also thanked the Minerals Council for the "positive and constructive role" it has taken on the voice to parliament for Indigenous Australians.

He said the pursuit of net zero emissions would be the great driver of the global economy over the next two decades.

The building blocks of a clean energy economy - essential to every battery, electric vehicle, wind turbine and solar panel - are all to be found in Australia.

He said he rejected the "false choice" between jobs and economic growth or action on climate change and protecting the environment.

"The work you do proves that these two goals can work together, indeed they must work together for the world's fastest-growing countries to meet their net zero targets."

Ms Constable said the mining industry would continue to work closely with government - to highlight the opportunities ahead and the risks of getting it wrong.

"As demand for minerals and metals intensifies, our global competitors are responding rapidly, incentivising development, attracting investment, encouraging growth," she said. 

But they are "stealing a march", Ms Constable warned.

"So, if there is so much at stake, why would it be wise, at this very time, to place even greater restraints on Australian businesses, to further ramp up costs on our businesses, and threaten investment and jobs?"

These extensive changes to industrial law will result in higher higher costs for everyone, she said.

The event - sponsored by Rio Tinto, Dyno Nobel, Glencore, ANZ and Mitsubishi Development - kicked off the annual Minerals Week in Canberra.

License this article

What is AAPNews?

For the first time, Australian Associated Press is delivering news straight to the consumer.

No ads. No spin. News straight-up.

Not only do you get to enjoy high-quality news delivered straight to your desktop or device, you do so in the knowledge you are supporting media diversity in Australia.

AAP Is Australia’s only independent newswire service, free from political and commercial influence, producing fact-based public interest journalism across a range of topics including politics, courts, sport, finance and entertainment.

What is AAPNews?
The Morning Wire

Wake up to AAPNews’ morning news bulletin delivered straight to your inbox or mobile device, bringing you up to speed with all that has happened overnight at home and abroad, as well as setting you up what the day has in store.

AAPNews Morning Wire
AAPNews Breaking News
Breaking News

Be the first to know when major breaking news happens.

Notifications will be sent to your device whenever a big story breaks, ensuring you are never in the dark when the talking points happen.

Focused Content

Enjoy the best of AAP’s specialised Topics in Focus. AAP has reporters dedicated to bringing you hard news and feature content across a range of specialised topics including Environment, Agriculture, Future Economies, Arts and Refugee Issues.

AAPNews Focussed Content
Subscription Plans

Choose the plan that best fits your needs. AAPNews offers two basic subscriptions, all billed monthly.

Once you sign up, you will have seven days to test out the service before being billed.

AAPNews Full Access Plan
Full Access
  • Enjoy all that AAPNews has to offer
  • Access to breaking news notifications and bulletins
  • Includes access to all AAPNews’ specialised topics
Join Now
AAPNews Student Access Plan
Student Access
  • Gain access via a verified student email account
  • Enjoy all the benefits of the ‘Full Access’ plan at a reduced rate
  • Subscription renews each month
Join Now
AAPNews Annual Access Plan
Annual Access
  • All the benefits of the 'Full Access' subscription at a discounted rate
  • Subscription automatically renews after 12 months
Join Now

AAPNews also offers enterprise deals for businesses so you can provide an AAPNews account for your team, organisation or customers. Click here to contact AAP to sign-up your business today.

Download the app
Download AAPNews on the App StoreDownload AAPNews on the Google Play Store