Finall call for LG evidence to respond to WASU award variation applications

Published on:
Wednesday, 1 November, 2023
Employee Relations


  • Monday 6, November 2023 Local Government (LG) information and witnesses to be provided to WALGA
  • Friday, 10 November 2023 WALGA to file outlines of evidence and documents in the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission (WAIRC)


As previously advised the Western Australian Municipal, Administrative, Clerical and Services Union of Employees (WASU) is seeking to amend the Municipal Employees (Western Australia) Award 2021 (ME Award) in APPL 3 of 2023 and the Local Government Officers’ (Western Australia) Award 2021 (LGO Award) in APPL 4 of 2023 (together the LG State Awards) with respect to:

  • casual employment
  • preferential treatment (for both LG State Awards) and paid cultural and ceremonial leave (for the LGO Award only) for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons
  • increased redundancy pay for regional workers
  • 5 weeks annual leave for shift workers
  • a right to request flexible working arrangements (FWA) (similar to s. 65 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth))

(the WASU Applications).

Further details of the WASU Applications can be found in the September State Award Update.
Commissioner TB Walkington has programmed APPL 3 and APPL 4 of 2023 as follows:

  • 10 November 2023 the respondents (WALGA and the named parties to the awards) are required to file their documents in reply
  • 20 November 2023 a further directions hearing to program the matters, which may include deciding on hearing dates (the Programming Orders).

LG view on the WASU Applications - Sector survey

Approximately half of the sector completed the survey and LGs appear to be opposed to all WASU claims, except for the increase to the casual loading and the right to request FWAs.

  Question and number of responses Yes No
1 Does your LG agree to WASU’s claim to increase casual loading from 20% to 25%? (75 responses) 76% 24%
Does your LG agree to WASU’s employment equity claim? (72 responses) 26% 74%
3 Does your LG agree with WASU’s redundancy claim? (68 responses) 46% 54%
4 Does your LG agree to WASU’s claim to increase AL for shift workers? (70 responses) 36% 64%
5 Do you support WASU’s claim seeking a statutory right to request FWAs (69 responses) 77% 23%
6 Do you support WASU’s claim seeking paid cultural & ceremonial leave? (68 responses) 32% 68%

State Award Working Group

In addition to the sector survey, WALGA set up a State Award Working Group earlier this year to seek feedback from the sector. Your representative from either your country zone, metropolitan zone or regional council may have already contacted you to gather relevant feedback to respond to the WASU Application. State Award Working Group representative information was distributed in the September State Award Update. Natalie Hope, City of Greater Geraldton, has since filled the Northern Country Zone representative vacancy.

WALGA evidence

WALGA needs to provide direct evidence to support the LGs’ views that the entitlements sought in the WASU Applications are not necessary and address the evidence the WASU is proposing to call in support of its Applications.

The Programming Orders require WALGA’s outlines of evidence and documents to be filed in the WAIRC by 10 November 2023. Therefore, we must receive information and potential witnesses by COB Monday, 6 November 2023.

WALGA cannot provide evidence on your behalf as this is considered hearsay evidence and it is not persuasive to the Commission. If LGs are not able or willing to provide evidence, the Commission will be more likely to grant the claims requested by the WASU. 

WASU evidence

The WASU has filed 13 outlines of evidence which it expects to call during a hearing (the WASU Evidence). The proposed WASU Evidence is to be provided by the WASU Secretary, 2 WASU organisers and 10 LG employees from the following LGs:

  • City of Armadale
  • Shire of Broome
  • Shire of Derby
  • City of Greater Geraldton
  • City of Fremantle
  • City of Karratha
  • Shire of Northam
  • City of Stirling
  • City of Vincent

The WASU Evidence proposes to cover the following matters:
Casual employment

  • 25% casual loading is the industry/national standard
  • Long term casuals tend to be of an older demographic
  • Casual employment in gyms/fitness/aquatic centres/health clubs
  • Hours and pattern of work
  • Impact on Centrelink payments/Healthcare Card
  • Casual conversion under Federal system and no major disruption if it continues in the State system
  • Refusal of casual conversion
  • Extended casual employment
  • Financial impact of being a casual

Employment equity

  • There are low employment rates of people who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people in the Local Government sector
  • Many Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people in parts of WA live in circumstances of poverty, with limited access to basis such as fresh food, accommodation, education, transport and employment
  • A number of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people are affected by dyslexia, which can impact on their ability to obtain work
  • There is a presence of discrimination and racism at work, including in employment practices that exclude local jobs going to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander members of the community, insensitive comments or conduct and allocation of less desirable equipment or jobs, and receiving less pay than other colleagues
  • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander peoples’ employment is concentrated in regional areas. They are typically employed in low-level, operational, labouring and not public facing roles, and are young workers that receive lower rates of pay. E.g., parks and gardens and sanitation
  • There is a lack of mentors and role models for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people and they are not employed in management or leadership roles
  • Issues facing aboriginal people in the Kimberley. E.g., foster care, lack of public spaces for children, unemployment, employment opportunities and practices, lack of mentors and role models

Cultural and ceremonial leave (LGO Award only)

  • Cultural obligations and family and caring responsibilities
  • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people do not pursue claims for cultural leave in bargaining negotiations
  • Use of annual leave or unpaid leave for cultural responsibilities/activities
  • Use of cultural leave under other industrial instruments and benefits
  • Cultural leave was insufficient to properly attend to cultural responsibilities

Increase of annual leave for shift work

  • Roster patterns and hours of rangers
  • LGs provide additional week in federal system
  • Assist with attending events/activities and assists family

Flexible working arrangements

  • Request and importance of flexible work
  • National standard

Redundancy for rural workers

  • Local Government biggest employer in many rural locations
  • Difficulty in securing other employment in regional areas following redundancy
  • Requirement to leave to live in a different area
  • Impact on accommodation provided by LG

Please urgently contact the ER Team via WALGA Employee Relations if you are able to provide any specific information about your LG’s position in response to the WASU Applications, or if you agree to be a witness (please ensure you obtain the necessary approvals – for example from your CEO).

We will continue to update the sector as these matters progress.

If you have any questions about this alert, please email WALGA Employee Relations or call 1300 366 956.

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