NSW looking at new 'harmonised' national IR system


NSW looking at new 'harmonised' national IR system

The NSW Government is to undertake an inquiry into a 'harmonised', federally-based national industrial relations system.


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The NSW Government is to undertake an inquiry into a 'harmonised', federally-based national industrial relations system.

NSW Minister for Industrial Relations, John Della Bosca, said the aim of the inquiry would be to develop a series of options for a national system to replace the 'failed' WorkChoices regime.

Constitutional expert

The inquiry will be headed by constitutional law expert Professor George Williams, the Anthony Mason Professor and Director of the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law at the University of New South Wales.

Williams, who appears in High Court and major appeal matters, was described merely as 'a failed Labor candidate' (he tried for Labor preselection earlier this year) in a statement by Workplace Relations Minister, Joe Hockey, who attacked the inquiry as Labor 'jobs for the boys'.

Hockey also said it was an indication of what would happen if Labor was in office federally as well as in all the States.

'Secret plan', says Hockey

'This secret plan proves that the Iemma Government isn't even going to wait until after the next election before launching a backdoor takeover of the nation's workplace relations system,' Hockey said. 'A NSW-style national IR system would be a catastrophic disaster for jobs and a disaster for the Australian economy.'

Della Bosca said that like Labor leader, Kevin Rudd, the NSW Government is supportive of 'greater harmonisation between the States and Territories and co-operative federalism'.

Truly national system

'Federal Labor's Forward with Fairness policy has set the stage for a move towards a truly national system, and this is an area we want to investigate further to see how we can get the best outcomes for employers and workers in NSW,' he said. 'We need a system in Australia that is fair, protects the rights and entitlements of families, has a real safety net and an independent umpire - all the things that have been removed by WorkChoices.'

Della Bosca said the inquiry will:

  • Identify principles to underpin a harmonised national industrial relations system within a framework of cooperative federalism
  • Consider the range of options for achieving such a harmonised national industrial relations system
  • Recommend the optimum model for NSW

'WorkChoices is a complete failure for employers, workers and families and needs to be dismantled as soon as possible,' Della Bosca said.

Confusion and complexity

'Instead of delivering a simpler system, as promised by John Howard, it has created confusion, complexity and needless red tape for businesses. For families and workers, these unfair laws have resulted in a reduction in wages, loss of entitlements and job insecurity.

'The Iemma Government has even had to introduce new laws to protect young people, frontline public servants and the injured against Work Choices.'


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