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Industrial relations reform

On 26 May 2020, the Prime Minister the Hon. Scott Morrison MP announced the Australian Government's JobMaker plan in an address at the National Press Club. Part of this plan is to explore reforms to the industrial relations system to regrow jobs lost in the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations, Christian Porter, is leading the process by bringing together employers, industry groups, employee representatives and government to chart a practical reform agenda. He will be assisted in this by Tim Marney, former West Australian Under Treasurer, as Deputy Chair. Working groups have been established to discuss potential solutions to five key issues within Australia's industrial relations system.

Working groups:

  1. The Casuals and fixed term employees working group will explore opportunities to increase clarity and certainty about casual employment arrangements.
  2. The Award Simplification working group will explore ways to simplify awards in industries particularly distressed by COVID-19.
  3. The Enterprise Agreements working group will explore ways to ensure a fair, transparent and simple agreement making system.
  4. The Compliance and Enforcement working group will explore ways to further enhance the effectiveness of the workplace relations compliance framework, including addressing wage underpayments.
  5. The Greenfields Agreements working group will focus on simplifying negotiation of agreements for new enterprises, activities, projects or undertakings.

Each working group will meet 5-6 times by 30 September 2020.

Submissions

Members of the public are welcome to submit views to the industrial relations working groups by completing the submission template.

Recently closed consultations

The discussion paper process, which was paused in March 2020 due to disruptions caused by COVID-19, has been a valuable mechanism for receiving stakeholder input on industrial relations policy issues. The input received through this process will form part of the considerations for the working groups.

The following consultations have been paused until the finalisation of the working group process.

  • Cooperative Workplaces – How can Australia capture productivity improvements from more harmonious workplace relations
  • Review of the Code for the Tendering and Performance of Building Work 2016
  • Improving protections of employees' wages and entitlements: further strengthening the civil compliance and enforcement framework

The approach to any future consultation on industrial relations policy issues will be advised once the working group process has concluded.

For the complete list of industrial relations consultations, visit consultations and publications.

Contact details

Send correspondence to the IR Secretariat at irsecretariat@ag.gov.au.