AIRC to be told: ‘get on with modernising awards’

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AIRC to be told: ‘get on with modernising awards’

Labor has added an extra dimension to its initial salvo of IR reforms set for the first sitting of Parliament in February - telling the AIRC to get on with modernising awards.

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Labor has added an extra dimension to its initial salvo of IR reforms set for the first sitting of Parliament in February - telling the AIRC to get on with modernising awards.

Previously Labor had only said that AWAs would be abolished in February and transitional arrangements set in place for the period between then and when existing AWAs expired.

However at a speech to the Australian Industry Group (AiG) yesterday Gillard said the February legislation would also provide the Australian Industrial Relations Commission with ‘the resources and clear direction it needs to get on with the award modernisation process’.

‘We will direct the AIRC to modernise and simplify Australia’s 4,300 awards, to provide industry-relevant detail on Labor’s 10 National Employment Standards, and to draft award flexibility clauses,’ Gillard said.

Most finished by 2009

‘It is our expectation that the vast bulk of award modernisation will be conducted by the end of 2009.’

Gillard said Labor will ensure the AIRC has as its first focus awards in industries with traditionally high levels of AWAs and old state awards, ‘so that when employers and employees in these industries transition to Labor’s new system, they will be certain about what their safety net contains’.

The Fair Pay Commission’s taskforce wage and classification structures completed its report earlier this year, but there has been no further activity. Presumably that report will now be considered by the AIRC to see whether it is relevant to their future activities under the new IR regime.

Consultation

She said that during 2008 and 2009 Labor will engage in a period of extensive consultation about transforming the rest of its Forward with Fairness policy into legislation.

‘Unlike the introduction of WorkChoices, we will be inviting scrutiny through the release of an exposure draft and the conduct of the proper parliamentary review processes,’ Gillard said.

Full effect from 1 January 2010

‘It is our intention that Labor’s substantive industrial relations legislation will be passed, without obstruction in the Senate, to allow our new industrial relations system to come into effect from 1 January 2010.’


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