Update on the proposed transition of Local Governments to the State IR system
With the exception of the new Easter Sunday Public Holiday which has now been proclaimed, the outstanding steps required before Local Governments are required to transition to the State industrial relations (IR) system reported in the December Bulletin remain unchanged.
The amendments to state legislation to enact Easter Sunday across Western Australia for all employees (whether in the State or Federal industrial relations systems) commenced on 12 February 2022. Updated versions of the Public and Bank Holidays Act 1972 (WA) and the Minimum Conditions of Employment Act 1993 (WA) are now available online.
Sector Refence Group meeting
The Sector Reference Group (SRG) meeting was held on Wednesday, 23 February 2022. The SRG discussed strategies for employee engagement in the event Local Governments transition to the State IR system.
The agenda, meeting summary and PowerPoint presentation are now available online here.
Given the uncertainty about whether the Federal Minister for IR will endorse a declaration that all Local Governments are not national system employers, we will aim to hold the next SRG meeting in May. An invitation will be circulated once the date is finalised.  
Bargaining for new agreements in a time of uncertainty
We suggest that your Local Government’s agreement bargaining strategies be developed in consideration of the:
  • uncertainty with the proposed transition to the State IR system, and
  • differences between the State and Federal bargaining frameworks.
 Key differences between the jurisdictions are:
  • The State system requires an industrial agreement to be made between an organisation or association of employees (e.g. a union) and the employer. This means a union will automatically be a party to the agreement and requires the union’s agreement for registration.
  • There is no requirement to issue employees in the State system with a notice of employee representational rights, nor is there a requirement to have a seven-day access period or an employee vote on the agreement.
  • There is no ‘better off overall’ test in the State system. That is, employers will not have to demonstrate that the terms of the industrial agreement are ‘better off overall’ than the relevant State awards, but agreements registered under the State system do have to provide for fair terms and conditions of employment and need to be supported by a statement summarising changes to pay and employment conditions. 
  • Bargaining for a new agreement in the State system can be commenced at any time.
  • The formal good faith bargaining process in the State system cannot be initiated earlier than 90 days before the nominal expiry date of the industrial agreement.
  • The maximum term for an industrial agreement is three years.
WALGA Employee Relations subscribers can contact us for further assistance with their bargaining strategies and to access a new NES precedence clause to assist with managing entitlements across the two IR jurisdictions.
WALGA webinar for ER subscribers – Bargaining in the State IR system
A reminder that WALGA Employee Relations is hosting a webinar to discuss the process and formal requirements of bargaining for an industrial agreement in the State industrial relations system. This webinar will also provide a high-level contrast between the Federal and State bargaining requirements.
Date: Wednesday, 9 March 
Time: 10:30am to 11:15am
Venue: Online

To register, please click here.
Please note this webinar is only available to subscribers of the WALGA Employee Relations service.
New subscriber resources
WALGA has developed award comparison guides to assist WALGA ER subscribers to understand the key differences between the following awards: The following award comparison guides are now available for WALGA ER subscribers on the website. Please note you will need to be logged in to view these guides. WALGA will continue to update you on key changes and impacts as they arise via the State IR Transition Bulletin.
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.