The Queensland industrial relations framework and the Industrial Relations Act 2016 (the Act) promotes consultation and cooperative industrial relations between employees, employers, unions and relevant employer organisations through a range of measures.
Genuine consultation promotes productive and cooperative workplace relations and is essential to the development of a fair and balanced industrial relations framework in Queensland.
What is genuine consultation?
Genuine consultation means providing employees, employers, unions and relevant employer organisations with the opportunity to be involved in decision making about industrial relations matters that affect them.
It improves fairness by giving employees a representative voice in matters that directly impact on their working lives.
When does consultation occur?
The Act provides for the creation of a new Queensland Industrial Relations Consultative Committee; good faith bargaining; modern awards including a requirement for employers to consult employees; as well as providing that consultation must occur before directives are issued for Queensland public service employees (including by amendment to the Public Service Act 2008).
What is the Queensland Industrial Relations Consultative Committee?
The Queensland Industrial Relations Consultative Committee is a high level forum that discusses proposed changes to industrial relations laws and other industrial relations issues.
Members of the Queensland Industrial Relations Consultative Committee are:
- the Minister for Industrial Relations
- the Commission Chief Executive of the Public Service Commission
- a representative of the Local Government Association of Queensland
- two senior departmental officers
- three representatives of the Queensland Council of Unions
- a representative of the Australian Workers’ Union of Employees, Queensland.
What are the requirements for consultation when awards and agreements are being made?
The Act provides for good faith bargaining to promote parties consulting and working towards reaching agreement when making agreements or bargaining awards.
Modern awards, agreements and bargaining awards must include consultative measures to ensure employees and their representatives have a say in matters that relate directly to their conditions of employment.
These measures will:
- focus on the issues that are of most importance to employees;
- be undertaken before any final decision is made and changes occur; and
- help employers understand and consider the views of employees and their representative organisations.
Consultation required before a directive is issued
A directive is issued by the Minister and can determine employment conditions for all or specified employees in the Queensland public service.
The Public Service Act 2008 requires that consultation occur between public sector agencies and unions before a directive is issued or amended. This will also ensure that employees are represented in matters that directly affect them.
- The legislative requirements for consultation are provided for under chapters 1, 3, 4, and 17 Industrial Relations Act 2016 and s 49A of the Public Service Act 2008.
- Queensland Industrial Relations Framework
- Queensland Government – Working in the public service
For specific information contact your employer’s Human Resources or Industrial Relations area or your union.
Queensland Industrial Relations Framework
A comprehensive review of Queensland’s industrial relations laws resulted in the government adopting all 68 of the review’s recommendations which will promote a fair and balanced industrial relations framework. A significant majority of the recommendations will be given effect though the Industrial Relations Act 2016 (the Act). The Act received assent on 9 December 2016 following its successful passage through the Queensland Parliament on 30 November 2016. Most provisions of the Act commenced on 1 March 2017.
The Act provides a framework for the conduct of industrial relations within the State’s industrial relations jurisdiction that is fair and balanced and supports the delivery of high-quality services, economic prosperity and social justice for Queenslanders. The defining features of the State industrial relations system are:
- a set of minimum employment conditions and standards
- collective bargaining as a cornerstone for setting wages and conditions including good faith bargaining and other consultation
- requirements to promote consultation between employers and employees
- a set of individual rights to fair treatment
- effective, transparent and accountable governance and reporting obligations for all registered industrial organisations and employer associations
- the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) as a strong and effective independent umpire.
The Act covers employers and employees to whom the federal Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) does not apply. Generally this means employers and employees of the Queensland government and local governments are covered by the Queensland Act.