New IR laws cover bullying and adverse action


New IR laws cover bullying and adverse action

The Queensland government has introduced new legislation that provides protections against adverse action and bullying, and paid leave for victims of domestic violence.


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The Queensland government has introduced new legislation that provides paid leave for victims of domestic violence and protections against adverse action and bullying.

The Industrial Relations Bill 2016 will replace the Industrial Relations Act 1999 and regulate Queensland's industrial relations jurisdiction.

It will also amend other laws including the Holidays Act 1983, the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991, the Public Service Act 2008 and the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003.

Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace said the Bill would wipe away the last vestiges of the former Newman Government’s industrial relations laws in Queensland. 

“The LNP's laws failed to respect the rights of workers to collectively bargain with their employer for their wages and conditions, while tying up registered industrial organisations in expensive and ineffective red tape," she said.

“Their laws made it harder for workers to be represented in their workplaces.”

Ms Grace said the Palaszczuk Government established an independent review of the state’s industrial relations laws and tribunals to provide recommendations for fair and balanced reform, delivering on a key election commitment.

The review was conducted by an independent reference group comprising key stakeholders and headed by Jim McGowan AM.

Key features

The Bill incorporates the reference group’s recommendations, establishing key defining features for the state’s industrial relations system, including:
  • collective bargaining as the cornerstone for setting wages and conditions
  • a set of individual rights to fair treatment
  • effective, transparent and accountable governance and reporting obligations for all registered industrial organisations and employer associations, and
  • a strong and effective independent umpire
  • makes Easter Sunday a public holiday from 2017
  • aligning Queensland's minimum employment standards with the national employment standards for parental, carers and compassionate leave, and
  • a right for all workers to request flexible work arrangements. 
The Bill also provides the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) with exclusive jurisdiction to deal with all workplace related anti-discrimination matters, including those taken under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991.

The minister said these matters would still go to the Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland in the first instance, but if they couldn't be resolved through conciliation and were work-related, the matter would be referred to the QIRC.  

The Bill has been referred to the parliamentary finance and administration committee, which is due to report by 28 October.
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