- Ministerial Review of the State's industrial relations system tabled in Parliament today
- Reforms focus on protecting vulnerable workers
The McGowan Government is pleased to release today the Final Report of the Ministerial Review of the State Industrial Relations System.
The Final Report makes 85 recommendations for reform of the State industrial relations system to ensure it is modern, fair and accessible.
Key reforms the McGowan Government will progress include:
- enabling workers to seek an order from the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission (WAIRC) to stop workplace bullying;
- providing a legislative equal remuneration framework for the WAIRC to deal with applications for equal remuneration orders and requiring it to develop an equal remuneration principle;
- amending the definitions of 'employee' in State industrial laws to remove existing exclusions which includes:
- persons engaged in domestic service in a private home;
- persons remunerated wholly by commission, percentage reward or piece rates;
- persons with a disability in supported employment.
Critically, these exclusions have been identified by the Commonwealth Government as a barrier to Australia ratifying the International Labour Organization Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention, 1930. The Protocol aims to support the global fight against forced labour, people trafficking and modern slavery and these amendments will ensure that Western Australian laws are compliant with the Protocol. The amendments will ensure that no category of employee is denied employment protections;
- providing greater power for the WAIRC to vary the scope of awards to ensure that all State private sector employees are covered by an award, except for those not traditionally award-covered;
- modernising the Long Service Leave Act 1958 and introducing penalties for non-compliance with the Act;
- increasing penalties for breaches of employment laws and strengthening industrial inspector powers; and
- addressing the lack of certainty as to which industrial relations jurisdiction applies to Western Australian local government.
The McGowan Government has already amended the Industrial Relations Act 1979 to abolish the position of President of the WAIRC - a recommendation of the final report of the review.
The review was undertaken by Senior Counsel Mark Ritter and Forrestfield MLA Stephen Price.
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Comments attributed to Mines and Petroleum and Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnston:
"The McGowan Government is pleased to announce our plans for the first round of reforms to modernise the State's industrial relations system.
"The Government is committed to a fair safety net of wages and entitlements for all workers and these reforms will improve protections for workers across the State.
"We're joining the fight against modern slavery by making it possible for the Federal Government to sign up to a key international protocol to help combat it.
"The McGowan Government strongly believes in equality, so we want to give the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission the power to consider applications from groups of workers, almost certainly women, on whether they are receiving equal pay.
"We oppose bullying in Western Australian workplaces so we're proposing to introduce anti-bullying powers to the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission, which mirror those of the Fair Work Commission.
"Unlike the previous Liberal National Government, who spent almost $1 million on the Amendola Review and then left it on the shelf, our Government is taking action."
Minister's office - 6552 6700