The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) is the leading industry group for the Australian minerals sector representing nearly 100 mining and minerals-related companies including BHP, Energy Australia and Rio Tinto. The MCA was founded in 1995 on the coattails of the Australian Mining Industry Council which was established in 1960 and is not related to the Australian Minerals Council, an intergovernmental forum. The MCA is an associated member of the World Coal Association.
Opposition to Closing Loopholes Bill
The MCA has reportedly spent tens of millions of dollars campaigning against the federal government’s industrial relations reforms. Tania Constable, MCA’s Chief Executive Officer, has also made several media statements regarding the bill, labelling the Closing the Loopholes legislation as falling “desperately short of a workable solution”:
“The Bill currently includes a complex and confusing 12-point multi-factor test as to what is “fair and responsible” to determine how contractors will be treated by the legislation. From the outset, all service contractors are captured unless they can litigate their way out via the multi-factor test, with the Bill stacking the odds against them. Tinkering with the test doesn’t alter the fact that all service contractors will still be captured till they can litigate their way out, at great cost to themselves. Amendments to the multi-factor test are not a credible solution. More litigation is not the solution to the problem. The government proposed amendments offer nothing for service contractors in a range of industries across the economy who will not be able to litigate their way out. For example small sub contractors on building sites, IT services providers and a range of specialist onsite service providers, including cleaners and catering contractors.”
Ms. Constable also directed her criticism at the Minister for Workplace Relations, Tony Burke:
“Unfortunately, this is the modus operandi for Minister for Workplace Relations Tony Burke. Find a soft target, get them to support your amendments sight unseen and then portray the problem as solved. No one should be fooled by such tactics.”
Furthermore, Ms. Constable critiqued the bill broadening union powers to “seek Fair Work Commission orders to capture businesses in same job, same pay.”