Qld backs national IR reforms

Queensland's participation in a national industrial relations system is being supported by the State Government, but not without a number of conditions

Qld backs national IR reforms
Qld backs national IR reforms

Queensland’s participation in a national industrial relations system is being supported by the State Government, but not without a number of conditions.

Industrial Relations Minister Cameron Dick says national reform for the private sector must ensure the State’s workers continue to get a fair deal.

"The Queensland Government is committed to seeing the implementation of an effective national industrial relations system which provides fair protection to employees and reduces the regulatory burden on employers," he says.

Speaking at yesterday’s Workplace Relations Ministers Council meeting in Sydney, Dick says a national industrial relations system for the private sector will provide greater certainty for both employers and employees.

"There are clear benefits for business and for the economy through the reduction of red tape and the increased productivity which will res ult from a single national system. But these benefits must not be reached at the expense of workers rights," he says.

"Today I have indicated that our in-principle support for a national system is conditional on a number of key threshold issues first being resolved."

These issues include:

  • Employees transferring to the national system must have their state award or agreement entitlements protected
  • State legislation should continue to regulate training arrangements for apprentices and trainees, as well as regulation of conditions of employment for apprentices and trainees, unless modern awards are more beneficial
  • Queensland must have a high degree of control and input within the national system, regarding changes to law and policy, to protect Queenslanders from any future ideological crusades like Work Choices
  • The national system must maintain acceptable service delivery, particularly in regional Queensland, in the areas of education services, tribunal and compliance services.

Dick says the conditions placed on the in-principle agreement will ensure the strengths of the Queensland industrial landscape are not compromised for the sake of pursuing a national system.

"The in-principle agreement we have made will see the public sector remain in the Queensland system and the local government sector will also fall within the state jurisdiction," he says.

"This ensures that workers who are employed to deliver local and Queensland government services will be covered under the state industrial system."

Yesterday’s agreement was the culmination of co-operative consultation between the Bligh and Rudd Governments, as well as lengthy consultation with industry and union representatives.

"This is in stark contrast to the unilateral approach of the former Howard Government when it forced Work Choices on the people of Australia," Dick says.

"We will continue to work with the Federal Government, industry and union representatives to resolve the outstanding issues we raised at today's meeting.

"At the end of the day, we want to deliver the best possible system for Queensland - one that ensures the protection of Queensland jobs and promotes economic growth."

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