Memberships of IR working groups announced

The Morrison Government has finalised the primary membership of the five industrial relations working groups tasked with finding ways to urgently regrow jobs lost as a result of COVID-19.

The working groups will each have 10 full-time members – five from employer and five from employee groups – and will tackle known problems within the IR system that are holding back Australia’s economic recovery.

Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations, Christian Porter, said the members all had a clear understanding of how important the task in front of them was, especially to the 600,000 Australians who have lost their jobs in recent months.

“On top of those who’ve lost their jobs, there are millions more who have seen their work hours and pay-packets reduced due to COVID-19, and we owe it to them to work cooperatively through this process to deliver solutions that will get our country working again,” the Attorney-General said.

The five issues that will be addressed by the working groups are:

  • Casuals and fixed term employees
  • Award simplification (covering Awards in industry sectors heavily impacted by COVID-19)
  • Enterprise agreement making
  • Compliance and enforcement
  • Greenfields agreements for new enterprises

The groups covering compliance and enforcement and Greenfields agreements will begin meeting from the week starting June 22. The three other groups will begin their meetings the following week.

The Attorney-General will directly chair the first rounds of meetings of all groups and will be assisted by deputy chair and fellow West Australian Tim Marney, who is a former state under treasurer and a current principal at Nous Group.

Several third party organisations and individuals will also be invited to present to or advise the groups on one or more occasions, providing expert experience and real-world perspectives on relevant issues. These third-party contributions will be determined by agreement of the 10 primary members of each working group. It is hoped that each group will be able to reach a consensus by September on the best way forward that can then be put in place by government, either through legislation or regulation.

The membership of each group is as follows:

Group 1 – Casuals

Employer organisations: Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Ai Group, Council of Small Business Associations of Australia (COSBOA), Australian Retailers Association (ARA), Australian Higher Education Industrial Association.

Unions: Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF), United Workers Union (UWU), Health Services Union (HSU).

Group 2 – Award Simplification

Employer organisations: ACCI, Ai Group, COSBOA, Australian Hotels Association (AHA), National Retail Association (NRA).

Unions: ACTU (2 reps), UWU, Australian Workers Union (AWU), Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA).

Group 3 – Enterprise Agreement Making

Employer organisations: ACCI, Ai Group, AMMA Australian Resources and Energy Group, Business Council of Australia (BCA), Master Builders Australia (MBA).

Unions: ACTU, SDA, Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), Transport Workers Union (TWU), Electrical Trades Union (ETU).

Group 4 – Compliance and Enforcement

Employer organisations: ACCI, Ai Group, National Farmers Federation (NFF), COSBOA, AHA.

Unions: ACTU (2 reps), Finance Sector Union (FSU), Australian Services Union (ASU), Independent Education Union (IEU).

Group 5 – Greenfields Agreements

Employer organisations: ACCI, AMMA, Minerals Council of Australia (MCA), Australian Constructors Association (ACA), MBA.

Unions: ACTU, Construction Forestry Mining Maritime and Energy Union (CFMMEU), AWU, Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU), ETU.

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