Providing A Level Playing Field For Victoria’s Public Sector

More than 130,000 Victorian public servants will get greater levels of consistency and fairness when negotiating their enterprise bargaining agreements thanks to legislative reforms by the Andrews Labor Government.

The Fair Work (Commonwealth Powers) Amendment Bill 2018 passed the Upper House today, giving public sector employers, workers and unions more bargaining rights so they can more effectively negotiate agreements.

It corrects a legal anomaly, created by a 2015 Federal Court decision, which meant that some types of public sector employees can bargain about a broader range of matters than others.

Now, more than 130,000 Victorians, including teachers, transport planners, prison staff and legal aid workers, will all be able to negotiate about things like staffing levels, how staff are engaged and the promotion of secure employment.

The Bill failed to pass the Parliament last year after opposition from the Coalition, despite their so-called support for referrals of industrial relations powers over the past 20 years.

The amendments will not change enterprise agreements that have already been concluded within the public sector.

The Bill does not mean that these clauses can be imposed on public sector employers. They will only be included where the parties agree.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Industrial Relations Tim Pallas

“For too long, this legal technicality has denied tens of thousands of Victorians basic bargaining rights – a situation the Coalition was happy to continue.”

“Unlike the Liberal-Nationals, we back workers. We care about the workforce and about delivering services that will improve life for all Victorians.”