Sector Consultation on Ministerial Review of the State Industrial Relations System
ER
Sunday, October 22, 2017
Sector Consultation on Ministerial Review of the State Industrial Relations System

Summary
  • The Minister for Commerce and Industrial Relations has announced a review of the State industrial relations system.
     
  • The review will address whether Local Governments should be regulated by the State industrial relations system.
     
  • WALGA has been invited to make a submission by 24 November 2017, and will be consulting with the sector over the next 3 weeks.
     
  • WALGA is inviting written feedback on the review terms of reference and will host a Sector Reference Group consultation meeting to inform a representative sector position.
Actions:
  • Written feedback requested by Friday, 3 November 2017.
     
  • Express interest for participation in Sector Reference Group consultation by Friday 27 October 2017 (meeting on Monday 6 November 2017).
Review Overview
 
On 22 September 2017 the State Government announced the conduct of a Ministerial review into the State industrial relations system to be undertaken by Mr Mark Ritter SC. The Member for Forrestfield, Mr Stephen Price MP, will assist Mr Ritter with the review.
 
WALGA sent an Employee Relations email alert to Local Governments on that date attaching the review’s terms of reference (TORs).
 
While the review covers a number of items relevant to the structure and jurisdiction of the WAIRC, provisions of key State legislation, update of State private sector awards and statutory compliance and enforcement mechanisms, we are particularly interested in the sector’s feedback on item 8:
  • Consider whether local government employers and employees in Western Australia should be regulated by the State industrial relations system, and if so, how that outcome could be best achieved.
As stated in the TORs, “ The Western Australian Government does not intend to refer any industrial relations powers to the Commonwealth. As such, the Ministerial Review will be predicated on there being no referral of powers.”

The Association’s current policy position (as updated in December 2016) is as follows:
 
      That WALGA:
  1. Provide information and advice to Local Government to support their assessment of the appropriate industrial relations jurisdiction within which to operate; and
     
  2. Advocate for modernisation of the WA industrial relations framework with a view to achieve consistency with the predominant Federal industrial relations system.
On 14 March 2017, the Association distributed an Infopage regarding the legal advice received on the application of both the State and Federal industrial relations jurisdictions to Local Governments. That advice confirmed the current operation of the law, that an organisation will be a national system employer if they are a trading or financial corporation, and therefore a constitutional corporation, pursuant to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth). If a Local Government is not a constitutional corporation, then its operations will be covered by the State industrial relations jurisdiction.
 
Currently, less than 15% of Western Australian Local Governments operate in the State industrial relations jurisdiction with over 85% identifying as a constitutional corporation under the Federal system.
 
The Minister has indicated that the review’s final report will be completed for the Government’s consideration in approximately 4 months (for further details please refer to media statement here). Mr Ritter will be consulting with stakeholders as part of the review and the Association has been invited to make a written submission to the review by 24 November 2017.
 
In addition to the focus on item 8 of the TORs, and consistent with the above policy position, the Association intends for the submission to also address key areas for modernisation of the State industrial relations framework.
 
To assist the Association in providing a representative sector position, your feedback on the TORs would be appreciated.
 
Sector Consultation
 
As the submission to the review is due on 24 November 2017, please see key consultation timeframes below:
 
  Item  Key date
 Expressions of interest - Sector Reference Group  27 October 2017
 Written submissions to WALGA  3 November 2017
 Sector Reference Group meeting  6 November 2017
 WALGA submission due  24 November 2017
 

Written Feedback
 
We are seeking written feedback from the sector addressing the following key items:
  1. Should WA Local Governments be regulated by the State industrial relations system?
  2. If yes, how could that outcome be best achieved?
  3. If no, how do you believe WA Local Governments should be regulated?
  4. What do you see as key areas for modernisation of the State industrial relations system?
  5. Please provide details of any other key issues for your organisation in relation to industrial relations regulation.
  6. Please provide any further feedback addressing items 1-7 of the TORs.
Please forward your written feedback to employeerelations@walga.asn.au by 5pm on Friday, 3 November 2017.

Sector Reference Group
 
The Association will be hosting a Sector Reference Group meeting to discuss the written feedback from the sector and further inform the submissions. Details of the Sector Reference Group meeting are below:
 
Date:           Monday, 6 November
Time:          12:30pm to 3:30pm (lunch provided)
Location:    WALGA
                    LV1, ONE70, 170 Railway Parade
                    West Leederville WA 6007
 
If you are interested in participating in the Sector Reference Group meeting, please express your interest via email to employeerelations@walga.asn.au by Friday, 27 October 2017. Numbers are limited.
 
Following input from the sector, we will prepare a submission which will be endorsed through the Zone and State Council meeting process.
 

 
For further information please contact:
Acting Manager Employee Relations Service, Kate Moore on 9213 2592 or email kmoore@walga.asn.au.
 
Executive Manager Governance & Organisational Services, Tony Brown on 9213 2051 or email tbrown@walga.asn.au.
 
For Employee Relations enquiries, email WALGA Employee Relations , or call 1300 366 956.