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Government pushed to reform ‘far too complex’ awards structure

A bookkeeping association is ramping up pressure on the government to better support small businesses by simplifying the industrial legislation.

Bookkeeper Jotham Lian 17 January 2018
— 1 minute read

Speaking to The Bookkeeper, the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB) executive director Matthew Addison has called on the government to be practical in its support of small businesses by adopting the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman’s (ASBFEO) proposal to simply industry awards.


There are currently 122 industry or occupation awards that outline the minimum pay rates and conditions of employment, according to the Fair Work Ombudsman.

“The community of bookkeepers is really looking for the government to practically embrace their support of the definition of small business,” said Mr Addison.

“[We are supporting] an award specifically applied to small business to make it far simpler to understand the numerous awards we have in this country and it is far too complex to employ somebody to know what their terms and conditions are.”

“Ombudsman Kate Carnell office has recommended a small business award and we're looking for the government to support that to make it easier for our bookkeeping community to help business employ more people.”

Last year, Ms Carnell said her office would be looking to simplify the industrial relations system in 2018.

“We want to focus on whether it’s possible to have a small business award,” said Ms Carnell.  

“In other words an approach that says to small business ‘as long as you follow these rules, you’re doing the right thing’, rather than 122 awards, a Fair Work Act that’s 950 sections long and a quarter of a million words and all these sorts of things that small business haven’t got a show of understanding.”

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Government pushed to reform ‘far too complex’ awards structure
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Jotham Lian

Jotham Lian

Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.

Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.

You can email Jotham at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.