On 11 June 2020, the Morrison Government announced the foundation of five working parties tasked with simplifying the Industrial Relations process in Australia. The working parties are timely with the sharp increase in unemployment and/or a considerable reduction in working hours due to the Covid-19 epidemic.
The five working parties consist of ten members each, five from peak employer bodies and five from peak unions.
The Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations, Christian Porter, said the members all had a clear understanding of how important the task in front of them is, especially to the 600,000 Australians who have lost their jobs in recent months.
Each working party will work on one of the five subjects listed below. The Morrison Government anticipates that each working party will have developed a plan to simplify their particular task within three months.
The five issues that will be addressed by the working groups are:
- Casuals and fixed term employees,
- Award simplification,
- Enterprise agreement making,
- Compliance and enforcement,
- Greenfields agreements for new enterprises.
Subject to the working party members reaching consensus on any recommendations, there will likely be legislative changes to the Fair Work Act. The Federal Minister for Industrial Relations has stated he would like the proposed changes to be put to Government by 1 February 2021.
AMIC will continue to provide updates to our members as information is provided by Government.