Victoria agrees to cede ir powers

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Victoria agrees to cede ir powers

The Victorian Government has officially announced that it will soon cede its industrial relations powers to the Commonwealth

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The Victorian Government has officially announced that it will soon cede its industrial relations powers to the Commonwealth.

The Victorian and Commonwealth Government’s revealed on Monday, 11 November, that they have reached an in-principle agreement for the transfer of the State’s industrial relations powers to the Commonwealth. Both the Prime Minister and the federal Minister for Industrial Relations heralded the move as an historic shift away from Australia’s complicated system of industrial relations.

The Minister stated: "A modern economy requires innovative labour market arrangements which focus on employee and employer needs and not ‘paper’ contests, legalisms and political rivalries."

As reported in the HR Link of 17 June 1996, the Victorian Government has been considering this move for much of this year. The Victorian Government believes that by moving to a unitary system of industrial relations it will have a distinct marketing advantage over the other States.

Although the details of the agreement are yet to be finalised, the agreement will provide that Victorian employers and employees will be able to access the federal system without having to leap the numerous constitutional hurdles which would otherwise apply. For example, all Victorian employers will be able to enter into Australian Workplace Agreements (Workplace Relations Act 1996) and non-union certified agreements.

In addition, Victorian employers and employees will be entitled to continue to operate under current Victorian agreements. The federal Commission will however take over the State Commission’s powers in relation to making safety net adjustments to Victorian minimum wages. On the other hand, no new formal State agreements will be possible.

The details of the agreement are to be worked out in discussions between the federal Minister for Industrial Relations and senior Victorian Ministers. The Commonwealth and Victoria will then proceed to pass the necessary legislation. The Democrats have apparently indicated their in-principle support for the referral as well as their preparedness to support the early passage of the legislation.

 

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