AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS COMMISSION

Assistance for Parties Undertaking Award Simplification

The Australian Industrial Relations Commission is developing a resource book to assist unions and employers with the complex and time consuming task of award simplification.

The book, which will be available in hard copy and on the Commission's home page in the next few weeks, will provide a guide as to what is allowable and not allowable in federal awards. It will contain extracts from Full Bench decisions and the Metal Industry Decision of March 1998.

AIRC President, Justice Geoffrey Giudice, said today the development of the resource book followed numerous requests and was one of several initiatives to arise out of informal talks last month with parties involved in award simplification.

He said other changes to be introduced were principally administrative and included provision for the electronic lodgment of draft simplified awards and related documents and the possible creation of a special award simplification database to make research easier.

"The task of simplifying several thousand federal awards is generating a heavy workload for both the Commission and the parties to awards," Justice Giudice said.

"The work can't be completed overnight, but every attempt is being made to streamline administrative procedures and to ensure the parties are given assistance with their research."

Under the Workplace Relations and Other Legislation Amendment Act, the Commission is required to review all federal awards to ensure they contain only the 20 allowable matters specified in Section 89A(2) of the Workplace Relations Act and that they meet certain other legislative criteria. Since July 1, 1998, non-allowable matters in federal awards are no longer enforceable.

As at April 30, this year, 989 federal awards had either been simplified or set aside, 1196 were undergoing simplification, 602 were still to begin simplification and 406 awards were to be reviewed under another provision of the Act as to their continuing operation.

Monday, 31 May 1999