WA Local Governments now required to operate in the State industrial relations system

From 1 January 2023, Local Governments and Regional Councils (WA Local Governments) named in Schedule 4 of the Industrial Relations (General) Regulations 1997 (WA) (IR Regulations) are required to operate in the State industrial relations system.
The December 2022 SIRT Bulletin provides the steps the State and Federal Governments took to declare WA Local Governments not to be national system employers for the purpose of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) and outlines which FW Act matters are preserved by Federal transitional legislation.

Publishing of new State instruments by the WAIRC

The Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission (WAIRC) is the relevant tribunal which resolves disputes about industrial matters and is responsible for registering industrial agreements in the State industrial relations system.
The WAIRC has commenced publishing new State instruments on its website via the agreements page, which can be accessed via the resource drop down tab or here
We encourage Local Governments to review their old Federal enterprise agreements which became new State instruments on 1 January 2023 to ensure that the correct versions of the agreements have been uploaded to the WAIRC website. If errors are identified, we suggest you contact the WAIRC Registry as soon as possible.
By operation of s.80BB of the Industrial Relations Act 1979 (WA) (IR Act) the Local Government Industry Award 2020 (LGIA) became a new State instrument for declared Local Governments if it applied to a declared employee before 1 January 2023. A copy of the new State Instrument LGIA is also available on the WAIRC website here.

Amendments to the IR Regulations

A reminder that regulation 8 of the IR Regulations commenced on 1 January 2023. This means for the period of two years beginning on 1 January 2023, while a new State instrument is in force, a State award does not apply to a declared WA Local Government and declared employees, unless the new State instrument provides otherwise.

This two-year period was the result of WALGA’s ongoing advocacy to secure a transitional period for WA Local Governments. This period now provides WA Local Governments with a clear timeframe to seek:
  • amendments to the Local Government State awards
  • amendments to new State instruments under s.80BC of the IR Act if the WAIRC determines “it is fair and reasonable to do so in the circumstances
  • an interpretation from the WAIRC under s.46 of the IR Act on the “true interpretation” of an industrial agreement, in the event there is ambiguity on the interaction of a new State instrument with a State award.
WAIRC resource for Local Governments

The WAIRC has prepared a resource to assist Local Governments with the transition to the State jurisdiction. This resource covers WAIRC and Industrial Magistrate’s Court claims and procedures and can be accessed here.

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.