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No new jobs evident, researcher finds


Zoe Satherley
7 December 2006
Recent changes to the unfair dismissal laws seem to have had minimal impact on creating new jobs in a selection of local businesses, Southern Cross University researcher Ashlee Bryson has discovered.

Ashlee, a Bachelor of Business graduate, has just completed her qualitative research into the effect of the implementation of the new unfair dismissal exemption provision within the WorkChoices legislation, on nine businesses with less than 100 employees in the Richmond-Tweed area.

The Lismore woman recently won Southern Cross University's $5,000 School of Commerce and Management Honours Scholarship, which she used to undertake her research.

She interviewed managers to gain their views and opinions on the old unfair dismissal laws and the new unfair dismissal exemption. She also examined their human resource policies and practices to see how these laws had influenced past and future job creation in their businesses and to see if these policies had changed as a result of the new laws.

Even though many business owners within her sample had held a negative view of the old laws, those laws had not significantly affected their capacity to create new jobs, Ashlee found.

Similarly, although many participant businesses believed they would be better off under the new laws, there did not seem to be a likely creation of jobs in the short term as a direct result of the unfair dismissal exemption.

While some businesses flagged their intention to create new jobs within the next 12 months, this was more a result of other factors rather than the changes to the unfair dismissal laws, Ashlee found.

Ashlee said her long-term ambition was to get to the top within the Australian public service and to have a say in the making of Australia’s fiscal policy.

Next February she will take up a position as a junior policy officer with the Department of Treasury in Canberra, having been accepted into their graduate entry program.

“I like the idea of being a public servant, and would like one day to be in a position to help shape Australia,” she said.

“At first I thought I wanted to be the Federal Treasurer but I soon realised that public servants design public policy, and I want to be one of those people.”

Ashlee attended Lismore High School until Year 10: “I left because I was bored with the focus on sport and wanted to be able to concentrate on my academic studies,” she said.

Instead of completing her HSC, she completed a two-year diploma in Advanced Accounting through Lismore College of TAFE, and then took a year off to work full-time as an administration assistant, saving hard for her university studies.

In 2003 Ashlee enrolled in a Bachelor of Business at Southern Cross University ‘because it was a well rounded degree that provided a wide range of career options’.

“Southern Cross University has a good relationship with TAFE and when I applied to the University I got 10 units of advanced standing towards the degree, in acknowledgement of my previous studies,” she said.

“I worked really hard to get the best marks I could and was thrilled to get an Honours scholarship to undertake my research on the new WorkChoices Legislation, which took a lot of financial pressure off me and has helped with the extra expenses involved in conducting this type of research.”

Photo: Bachelor of Business graduate Ashlee Bryson.