Passage of IR Bill through State Parliament
On 16 December 2021, the Industrial Relations Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 (IR Bill) was passed by the Parliament of Western Australia and is waiting assent.
The amended Industrial Relations Act 1979 (WA) (IR Act) provides the ability to declare all WA Local Governments not to be national system employers for the purpose of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act).
The other changes to the IR Act are set out by the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety here.
Next steps before Local Governments are required to transition to the State system
The transition of Local Governments to the State industrial relations system (State IR System) is now subject to the drafting of regulations to:
  • individually name each Local Government employer not to be a national system employer, and
  • fix the ‘relevant day’.
WALGA is advocating for the ‘relevant day’ to be six months from the enactment of the regulations.
After the enactment of the regulations a written declaration by the Federal IR Minister endorsing that Local Governments are not national system employers under s.14(2) of the FW Act is required before Local Governments will be required to operate in the State IR System.
What happens to employment entitlements? 
In the previous Bulletin we summarised the differences between Federal and State minimum employment standards, and confirmed certain transitional arrangements if Local Governments are declared not to be national system employers.
Importantly, most Federal statutory industrial instruments will transition to the State IR System as a ‘new State instrument’ and be deemed to be industrial agreements under the IR Act. This includes:
  • a Federally registered enterprise agreement, and
  • the Local Government Industry Award 2020 (LGIA).
Each new State instrument/new industrial agreement will have a nominal expiry date that is the earlier of the following:
  • a day that is two years from the relevant day, or
  • the day that, immediately before the relevant day, was the nominal expiry date of the transitioning federal instrument. 
As the LGIA does not have an expiry date, the nominal expiry date will be deemed to be two years from the ‘relevant day’.

Employment conditions that apply after the transition to the State IR system may also be set by:
  • The Minimum Conditions of Employment Act 1993 (WA).
  • An employment contract. 
  • Local Government policies which may provide for employee entitlements.
An employee’s employment and service under a transitioning Federal instrument will be recognised but there will be no ‘double dipping’ of entitlements.
ER subscriber resources
WALGA has prepared a flow chart for ER Service subscribers that provides an overview of the transition of Federal statutory instruments to the State IR System.  
The flow chart can be accessed from the WALGA website here, noting you will need to be logged in to view all resources.
WALGA will continue to update you on key changes and impacts as they arise via the State IR Transition Bulletin.
Save the date
WALGA and DMIRS will be holding a joint webinar on Tuesday, 8 February 2022 at 10:30am about the IR Bill and the proposed changes for Local Governments. Registration information will be circulated in the new year.  
The next Sector Reference Group meeting will be held at WALGA on Wednesday, 23 February 2022 from 2pm. 
If you subscribe to the WALGA Employee Relations service and have any questions about this alert, please email WALGA Employee Relations or call 1300 366 956.