Qld next in line for pay equity

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Qld next in line for pay equity

Following on from NSW and Tasmania, Queensland has announced an inquiry into pay inequity, to be run by the State’s Industrial Relations Commission, which will report to the Minister by March next year.

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Following on from NSW and Tasmania, Queensland has announced an inquiry into pay inequity, to be run by the State’s Industrial Relations Commission, which will report to the Minister by March next year.

The inquiry will fulfil an election promise, and is in line with one of the key recommendations of the State’s 1998 Taskforce into the IR system.

That Taskforce, whose independent expert was the man who recently handed down a report into Victoria’s IR system, Professor Ron McCallum, recommended equal remuneration be one of the principal objects of the Industrial Relations Act 1999 and that pay equity be included in the definition of an industrial matter.

A spokesperson for Queensland’s IR Minister, Paul Braddy, told WorkplaceInfo that no decisions had been made yet on timetabling, apart from the start date of October 2, or on how the QIRC would run the inquiry.

He said all the rest was up to the Commission, although he was sure it would be consulting with Tasmania and NSW after their recent pay equity decisions (see previous stories – WorkplaceInfo Alert numbers 34 and 38). He said Queensland had waited for the inquiry until the other states had made their decisions, so their findings could be taken into consideration.

The President of the QIRC, David Hall, told WorkplaceInfo that such an inquiry had to be announced under the Act, and as this had not been done yet, he could not comment further at this stage.

In announcing the inquiry, Mr Braddy said that while equal pay for work of equal value had been granted nationally in 1969, pay equity was still ‘not a reality’, with Queensland women earning only 84.3% of their male counterparts’ wages.

‘Undervaluation of work performed by some groups of women, and disparity between the wages of men and women, continues to exist in far too many areas,’ he said. ‘Studies have found that the more females in an industry, the lower the pay is likely to be.’

The inquiry will examine the extent of pay inequity in Queensland and the equity principles recently established by the NSW and Tasmanian state IRCs, and their relevance to Queensland.

It will also review the adequacy of existing policy and legislative settings.

The final report, to be considered by Cabinet, will include a draft principle which would be used to guide parties appearing in pay equity cases before the Commission.

The Queensland IR Act may be viewed at the following location (Acrobat reader required):

 

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