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OECD Economic Surveys: Australia 2006

image of OECD Economic Surveys: Australia 2006

This 2006 edition of OECD's periodic survey of the Australian economy finds that reforms have raised both economic performance and resilience, but that some challenges stil remain, including closing the productivity gap and raising labour utilisation.  Individual chapters look at fiscal relations across levels of government, further reforming infrastructure services, providing greater flexibility in workplace conditions, and improving incentives to work, especially for olders workers and women with families.

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Reforming Industrial Relations

The industrial relations system has evolved gradually from a very prescriptive set of rules set by judicial bodies to a much more flexible system, with many enterprise and individual agreements. However, the judicial rulings have remained important in setting a floor on what can be agreed upon. Many attempts have been made in recent years to instil greater flexibility, while maintaining a social safety net. The latest is the WorkChoices legislation, which took effect in March 2006. This chapter reviews WorkChoices and assesses the room and options for further reforms.

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