Hon Simon O'Brien MLC

Hon Simon O'Brien MLC

Former Minister for Finance; Commerce; Small Business

    Proposed IR reform a win for small business

    14/11/2012 12:00 AM
     
    • State Govt releases proposed IR changes for consultation
    • Public comment period ends January 31, 2013
    The State Government has released a draft Bill for public comment to reform the State’s industrial relations system.
     
    Commerce Minister Simon O’Brien today tabled in State Parliament a draft of the Labour Relations Legislation Amendment and Repeal Bill 2012.
     
    Mr O’Brien said the draft Bill was evidence of the Government’s desire to modernise State industrial relations laws and to consult with affected stakeholders.
     
    “The draft Bill will be open for public comment until January 31, 2013.  If the Government is re-elected in 2013, it will progress legislation taking into account feedback from the consultation process,” he said.
     
    “I anticipate that many of these changes, particularly those involving ‘right of entry’ and ‘unfair dismissal’, will be welcomed by the small business community.
     
    “The changes outlined in the draft Bill will help bring the State’s industrial relations system into the 21st century.  There are currently 200 private sector awards, many of which are outdated and do not reflect contemporary workplaces.  There will be a requirement for the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission to make new modern awards for the private sector.”
     
    Key changes proposed by the draft Bill include:
    • broadly harmonising State unfair dismissal and ‘right of entry’ laws with the Federal Government’s Fair Work Act 2009 to ensure a better balance between the rights of employers and employees
    • updating statutory minimum conditions of employment
    • streamlining the process for setting State minimum wages
    • streamlining the structure of the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission, while retaining its strong conciliation and arbitration powers.
    “This draft Bill is a balanced reform package that will benefit WA employers and employees,” the Minister said.
     
    “I would like to emphasise these proposed changes have been informed by the Federal Government’s Fair Work legislation.
     
    “In the areas of right of entry and unfair dismissal, the State Government is merely aligning State legislation with Federal legislation.”
     
          Fact File
    • Potentially up to 35% of WA employees covered by State’s IR system
    • Employees in State system mainly employed by unincorporated small business and public sector employers
    • WA only State not to have relinquished private sector IR powers to Federal Govt
    • Closing date for written submissions on draft Bill is January 31, 2013
    • Submissions can be forwarded to cara.breuder@commerce.wa.gov.au
    • More information on proposed legislation at: http://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/LabourRelations/
    • Bill to be available at above website once tabled
    • Govt support for small business this year includes rebate on payroll tax and introduction of Sunday trading 
    Minister’s office - 6552 5800