Workplace relations

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About the Minerals Council of Australia

The MCA is the leading advocate for Australia's world class minerals industry, promoting and enhancing sustainability, profitability and competitiveness. The MCA represents a world-leading minerals sector that is dynamic, diverse, sustainable and valued by all Australians. Read more.

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The Australian minerals industry has a strong record of creating and sustaining highly paid, highly skilled and secure jobs.

The resources sector directly employs approximately 256,000 people across Australia, more than triple the number employed in 2001 (79,000).

Deloitte Access Economics estimates that the mining and mining equipment, technology and services sector:

  • Directly employs 480,000 people
  • Indirectly supports another 650,000 jobs through purchases from other sectors.

84 per cent of mining workers are permanently employed, whether by minerals producers or by service contractors who typically have enterprise agreements.

In contrast, 78 per cent of workers across all industries are permanently employed.

The mining industry successfully employs a range of agreement options to drive productivity and incomes, with 99 per cent of mining workers earning above-award wages and conditions.

Median weekly earnings for all mining workers were $2,325 in 2020 – double the median for all industries ($1,150 a week).

Casual employees in mining had median weekly earnings of $2,109 in 2020 – 42 per cent higher than the median for full-time permanent employees across all industries ($1,486).

High-wage jobs depend upon highly productive and adaptive workplaces.

Australia needs a modern workplace system that supports innovation and productivity to sustain future growth in living standards.

The Federal Government should:

  • Encourage new investment by allowing parties to negotiate greenfields agreements for longer than four years
  • Improve the approval process for enterprise agreements, including by fast-tracking agreements that are supported by a majority of employees and stipulating how the Fair Work Commission should apply the better-off-overall test
  • Maintain competitiveness, flexibility and choice in employment arrangements, including the use of labour hire and service contractors
  • Confine permitted content – over which protected industrial action can be taken – to employment matters that directly affect employers and employees at the enterprise
  • Institute a more practical test for the Fair Work Commission to apply when considering applications to terminate expired enterprise agreements

Allow employees to choose between enterprise agreements or individual agreements if they earn above a high-income threshold.