WA orders review of its IR laws and national system

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WA orders review of its IR laws and national system

The West Australian Government has ordered a major review of its industrial relations system, including how it will harmonise with the new national system Fair Work Australia.

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The West Australian Government has ordered a major review of its industrial relations system, including how it will harmonise with the new national system Fair Work Australia.
 
However it is determined to retain control of the State system, and not refer all its IR powers as Victoria has done.
 
Waterfront dispute
 
Commerce Minister Troy Buswell yesterday said the review would be conducted by IR lawyer Steven Amendola, who previously represented the Commonwealth in the 1998 waterfront dispute and worked on the 2002 Royal Commission into the Building and Construction Industry.
 
Key areas for review include:
  • WA’s unfair dismissal laws;
  • union right of entry;
  • agreement-making and awards; and
  • the structure and operation of the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission.
Harmonise State and Federal systems
 
The review’s terms of reference also include consideration of the Federal Government’s Fair Work Act 2009, with a focus on which elements should form part of the State industrial relations system, and potential areas for harmonisation of State and Federal industrial relations systems.
 
Buswell said up to 30% of WA employees are covered by the State system, mostly in unincorporated small business and the public sector, and the State Government has no intention of handing over this responsibility to Canberra, which is continuing to push for a single national system.
 
Best interests of WA
 
‘I think the interests of WA will be best served by the State exercising its powers to legislate on industrial matters,’ he said.
 
Buswell said the Amendola Review will be the first stocktake of the operation of the State system, since the Federal Government’s use of Corporations power to make Commonwealth industrial relations laws.
 
‘Putting aside politics’
 
‘The Government is putting politics aside to develop the best workplace laws for WA,’ he said.
 
Buswell said the review aimed to create ‘the most fair, balanced and productive industrial relations system in the nation’.
 
‘The review will lay the foundations for a simple, efficient system tailored to the needs of small businesses, which often lack the human resources expertise of big companies,’ he said.
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