Australian Industrial Relations Commission

Nauru House, 80 Collins Street, Melbourne, Vic. 3000

G.P.O. Box 1994S, Melbourne, Vic. 3001

Thursday, 24 May 2001
Media Release: AIRC Video Launched

A video information package, aimed at assisting employees and employers involved in termination of employment cases, has been produced by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission and is now available.

Comprising a 15-minute video and a 12-page booklet, the package provides an overview of the conciliation process for those unfamiliar with the workings of the Commission.

"This is an important initiative and a first for the Commission and the Australian Industrial Registry," said Senior Deputy President Ian Watson in launching the package in Melbourne today.

"Attending a tribunal or court for the first time can be a frightening prospect if you know little about the legal system. Such anxiety is only likely to increase in circumstances where a traumatic event like a termination of employment is involved."

Senior Deputy President Watson oversees the termination of employment area in the Commission and has played a leading role in the production of the video and accompanying booklet.

Such cases represent a significant proportion of the AIRC's caseload.

"In the year to April 2001 nearly 700 termination of employment matters were lodged each month, around 400 of them in Victoria," Senior Deputy President Watson said.

"But it is perhaps not widely known that only a very small proportion of these applications end in a binding decision of the Commission. The vast majority of cases are resolved in conciliation, an informal process where the parties are assisted in their efforts to reach agreement."

In the period from December 1996 to June 2000 three in four termination of employment matters, not settled or withdrawn prior to conciliation, were resolved by conciliation.

With further matters being resolved, or withdrawn between conciliation and arbitration, only five per cent of termination of employment matters proceeded to an arbitrated decision on the merits of the case.

The video features scenes from a mock conciliation and interviews with practitioners who have day-to-day experience in termination of employment cases.

It seeks to explain the concept of conciliation and the role of the conciliator and to provide some insight into what happens in a conciliation conference. Advice is also given as to how to prepare for such a conference.

"It is intended that parties who are unfamiliar with the Commission and the conciliation process will feel more comfortable after viewing the video and, hopefully, be better able to participate," said Senior Deputy President Watson.

The video is being distributed to representative organisations such as unions, employer bodies and law firms as well as regional libraries in centres where AIRC conciliation conferences are regularly held. It may also be viewed on-site at most Australian Industrial Registry premises around Australia.

The booklet may be obtained at Registry public counters. The text of the booklet and information about the video will be posted shortly on the AIRC website. The address is http://www.airc.gov.au/

Further information

Contact AIRC Media Liaison Officer Judy Hughes

Phone: 03-8661-7862

Mobile: 0407-920815

Email: judy.hughes@air.gov.au