NSW, Qld look to join national IR system, WA still holding out

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NSW, Qld look to join national IR system, WA still holding out

New South Wales and Western Australia are still holding out on signing up to a national workplace relations system, but IR Minister Julia Gillard hopes to get New South Wales on board by late-October.

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New South Wales and Western Australia are still holding out on signing up to a national workplace relations system, but IR Minister Julia Gillard hopes to get New South Wales on board by late-October.
 
Western Australia is proving more obdurate, and may at best be no more than a ‘cooperating jurisdiction’.
 
‘Major step’
 
In a communiqué from the Workplace Relations Ministers’ Council (WRMC) after its meeting, the states and territories stated there had been ‘a major step’ towards achievement of a national workplace relations system for the private sector.
 
‘At the meeting all Ministers, except the Western Australian and NSW Ministers, agreed to the content of the multi-lateral inter-governmental agreement which outlines the roles and responsibilities of participants in the national system,’ the communiqué said.
 
The meeting also moved a step closer to harmonised occupational health and safety (OHS) laws with Ministers agreeing to the release of the endorsed exposure draft of the model OHS Act for public comment.
 
Extensive consultation
 
Gillard, who is also Acting Prime Minister, said the progress achieved to date on both IR and OHS, ‘especially when compared to the failed efforts of the past’, highlighted the benefit of the extensive consultation undertaken between Commonwealth and state and territory governments on these matters.
 
She said the Commonwealth, Victoria, South Australia, the Northern Territory, the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania agreed to the multi-lateral intergovernmental agreement (IGA) and have signed the IGA.
 
Qld wants changes
 
‘Queensland agreed to the text of the multi-lateral IGA and subject to resolving remaining issues would be prepared to sign the IGA,’ the communiqué said.
 
New South Wales is yet to determine whether or not it will refer its workplace relations powers, but indicated were it to do so it would not seek any amendment to the IGA.
 
WA ‘cooperating jurisdiction’
 
‘Western Australia notes the content of the IGA and the provisions that would apply in the event it elected to sign as a cooperating jurisdiction.'
 
‘Queensland and New South Wales agreed to work with the Commonwealth to resolve outstanding issues by late October 2009.’
 
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