AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS COMMISSION

Progress in Award Simplification

The award simplification process has passed the half-way mark with 51 per cent of all federal awards having been simplified or set aside by the end of October.

When the process began in 1997 there were 3,197 federal awards. As of 31 October, there were 2,012 current awards, including 47 new awards made since 1 July 1998, and of the 3,197 awards, 1,634 had been reviewed or had been identified as not requiring review.

The Commission is required to review all federal awards under the Transitional Provisions of the Workplace Relations and Other Legislation Amendment Act 1996. It must remove all non-allowable award matters and ensure, where appropriate, that awards meet certain other legislative criteria.

At 31 October 1999:
· 359 awards had been simplified;
· 1,245 had been set aside or deemed to have ceased operation;
· 1,172 were undergoing simplification;
· 363 were still to begin simplification;
· 41 were to be reviewed under Section 151 of the Workplace Relations Act and
· 30 had been identified as not requiring review.

Commission President, Justice Geoffrey Giudice will this week write to a number of organisations involved in award simplification advising them of progress and efforts being made by the AIRC to assist parties.

Some of the measures which have been introduced include the development of an Award Simplification Resource Book, provision for the electronic lodgment of draft simplified awards and related documents and the running of information sessions on the use of an award simplification word processing template.

In September, the six-Member specialist Award Simplification Panel was disbanded and simplification work assigned to Members across the Commission. The change aimed to extend expertise in award simplification throughout the Commission and provide efficiencies such as allowing for simplification hearings and conferences to be programmed in conjunction with other proceedings.

Monday, 15 November 1999