People Matters, November 2020

As reported in a previous issue of this newsletter, five working groups were established by the Federal Government to discuss potential solutions to key issues within Australia’s industrial relations system.

Working groups:

  1. The Casuals and Fixed Term employees working group explored opportunities to increase clarity and certainty about casual employment arrangements.
  2. The Award Simplification working group explored ways to simplify awards in industries.
  3. The Enterprise Agreements working group explored ways to ensure a fair, transparent and simple agreement making system.
  4. The Compliance and Enforcement working group explored ways to further enhance the effectiveness of the workplace relations compliance framework, including addressing wage underpayments.
  5. The Greenfields Agreements working group focused on simplifying negotiation of agreements for new enterprises, activities, projects or undertakings.

The formal working group meetings concluded on 18 September 2020.

The Attorney General and IR Minister, Christian Porter has stated that he will now prepare a draft Bill containing the outcomes of the working group meetings. He added any areas to be included need to be, “pragmatic, balanced and realistic and won’t be ideologically-driven.”

He said that the Government “intends that meaningful reforms will be brought to Parliament in coming months”.

In relation to the issue regarding casual employment, Porter has confirmed that the Government will be preparing a draft definition to be incorporated into the Bill.

AMIC will review the content of the Bill once it is released for comment.