FWA laws receive Royal Assent, 2nd Transition Bill still to come

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FWA laws receive Royal Assent, 2nd Transition Bill still to come

The Fair Work Bill received Royal Assent yesterday and most of it will come into operation on 1 July this year.

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The Fair Work Bill received Royal Assent yesterday and most of it will come into operation on 1 July this year.
 
Modern awards and the National Employment Standards will begin operating on 1 January 2010.
 
The replacement for the ABCC will begin on 1 February 2010.
 
Compromise and transition
 
The FWA Bill passed through the Senate after great debate during the last session of Parliament after the Federal Government found a compromise with independent Senator Steve Fielding.
 
Fielding accepted a deal that the cut-off for the small business unfair dismissal laws be fewer than 15 full-time equivalent positions for 18 months after the legislation begins on 1 July, and then reverts to a ‘head count’ of fewer than 15 employees, whatever their status.
 
A Transition Bill was introduced into Parliament on 19 March by IR Minister Julia Gillard, and will be debated during the May Budget sitting.
 
The Transition Bill covers issues including:
  • preservation of existing workplace instruments and setting out how these interact with the new system, including the new NES and modern awards
  • arrangements to enable bargaining under the new system to commence in an orderly way
  • arrangements for the transfer of assets, functions and proceedings from Workplace Relations Act institutions to Fair Work Australia and the Fair Work Ombudsman
  • consequential amendments to other Commonwealth legislation considered essential to the operation of the Fair Work Bill (being the creation of the Fair Work Divisions of the Federal Court of Australia and the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia).
 
Second transition Bill coming
 
Gillard said a further Bill will deal with the consequential amendments to all other Commonwealth legislation, which is likely to involve amendments to more than 70 Commonwealth Acts.
 
The second Bill will also deal with any state referrals of power that have been completed by that time, although this is now unlikely since the Workplace Relations Ministers’ Council, which met in Adelaide last Friday, said discussions on referrals would continue with a view to finalising them at the June meeting.
 
The intention is to introduce the second Bill into the Lower House in the week commencing 25 May 2009.
 
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