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Productivity Commission Inquiry could prove valuable

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Just last week the debate over workplace issues revved up again with the release by the Abbott government of its Productivity Commission inquiry into workplace relations. Naturally, the unions and the ALP are salivating at the idea that this will be a re-run of WorkChoices, almost guaranteeing them a win at the next election. ICA will be putting a submission to the Inquiry.

But beyond the daily political head-banging on this issue, the broader context is interesting—particularly for self-employed people. The ‘workplace’ does not simply comprise employees, but includes the self-employed who are now a major component in the mix.

We’ve been following the UK debate over the huge rise in the number of self-employed as the driver of improved UK employment figures. The Daily Telegraph, for example, says it’s about entrepreneurship and that ‘governments need to do little to encourage innovation beyond cutting taxes and rules.’ We pretty much agree.

The comments by Small Business Minister Bruce Billson on ABC Radio clearly show where the government is heading in removing roadblocks to self-employment.

And research from Professor Tim Mazzarol from the University of Western Australia about innovation and entrepreneurship picks up a similar theme. He talks about ‘entrepreneurial ecosystems’ and says ‘the role of government is indirect and one of a facilitator not a manager’ and further ‘…care must be taken by governments not to try to pick winners or over engineer the system’.

It’s important, we think, to keep an eye on what makes for an innovative and entrepreneurial society. It’s here that we can maximise wealth creation and have the greatest impact on lowering poverty and disadvantage. The debate that will happen with the Productivity Commission inquiry is worthwhile.

 

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