“Jobfaker”: Scotty from Marketing rebrands nothing burger reform

Via the AFR:

Scott Morrison will use $1.5 billion in federal funding as leverage to force nationwide change to the skills sector, and he will call for a new Accord-style relationship with trade unions and business, to help drive an economic recovery he envisages will take between three and five years.

…”We must enable our businesses to earn our way out of this crisis. That means focusing on the things that can make our businesses go faster.”

The “JobMaker” economic recovery program, to be unveiled mostly in the October budget, will be released against a backdrop of a record deficit, debt exceeding 30 per cent of GDP, unemployment “around 10 per cent”, and a fall in foreign investment by up to 40 per cent.

…On skills, a sector beset with “inconsistency, incoherence and complexity”, and the reform of which has been stuck on the Council of Australian Governments treadmill for years, Mr Morrison will seek to force rapid change by placing conditions on the $1.5 billion the Commonwealth gives the states annually.

…Mr Morrison will cite as necessary such changes as linking funding to training people with skills that businesses need, and for the system to be simplified and made more consistent between the states, including the level of subsidy for each course.

…On industrial relations, the government is looking at such changes as restoring the enterprise bargaining system and possibly further simplifying the award system.

…While Tuesday’s speech will focus on skills and industrial relations, Mr Morrison will also keep alive the prospect of tax changes to boost business.

The two main options are cutting the company tax rate, which is expensive and risks another debilitating fight with Labor, or introducing an investment allowance, a policy Labor took to the last election.

Can we dispense with the trite marketing slogans? JobSeeker, JobKeeper, Jobmaker. Give it a rest.

As for the policy platform, it already appears to be getting watered down from earlier versions, thank god. A business investment allowance is good policy. A corporate tax cut is terrible.

Simplification of awards is all well and good. Skills development is good too, as is vocational training. Though why businesses just want automatons rather than people who can think and innovate is not clear to me.

There does not appear to be anything along the lines of Work Choices 2.0 in the pipe, another watering down. If it does turn out to be more pointed than it appears then the key will the visa system and whether it is reformed as well. If not, any loosening of the industrial relations system will shift all of the post-virus adjustment onto households as wages keep falling interminably under pressure from cheap foreign labour as well as gutted worker protections..

Indeed, what this platform is most about is nothing. There’s no difficult reform proposed here. Certainly no structural reform. The name itself is stagnant – “Jobmaker” – versus what public policy should be about, lifting living standards.

Perhaps we should be grateful that Scotty from Marketing won’t accelerate things getting, which is about the best that Australians can hope for these days.

David Llewellyn-Smith
Latest posts by David Llewellyn-Smith (see all)

Comments are hidden for Membership Subscribers only.