Workplace Relations and Employment

workplace relations

Fairer workplaces, a stronger economy

The Australian Government has been working hard to ensure Australians get a fairer go at work, and to ensure employers continue to create jobs and keep our economy strong.

The centrepiece of the Government’s industrial relations system is the Fair Work Act.

Since its introduction in 2009 the Fair Work Act has delivered fairer workplaces for working Australians and businesses. The Fair Work Act has secured employment conditions including:

• protection from unfair dismissal
• ensuring benefits like weekend penalty rates and overtime pay and
• an entitlement to a minimum wage.

Businesses and employee representatives are finding the Fair Work Act is helping them reach agreement, with nearly 23 500 enterprise agreements in operation as at 30 June 2011 covering over 2.57 million employees.

The Government will continue to work with state and territory governments to harmonise work health and safety legislation across Australia. This will boost productivity by allowing business owners to know what work health and safety laws require, regardless of what part of Australia they are operating in.

The Australian Government is also committed to pay equity for Australian women, committing to fund its share of any wage increases awarded by Fair Work Australia for those in the social and community services sector.

To ensure the Fair Work Act continues to meet the needs of Australian workers and employers, the Australian Government has commissioned an independent review of the Act. The Review Panel will consult widely with interested parties and there will be a public submission process.

The Government is passionate about jobs: We’ve created over 750,000 jobs since 2007, also investing to ensure those who are able to work but are currently not working can get into the workforce.

We’ve invested in educating and training workers for the immediate needs of the health, aged care and education industries, and long-term we’re giving people the toolkit for the jobs of the future in green industries, the finance sector and the tech savvy communication and resource industries.

Employers have to take another look at the long-term unemployed, people with a disability, older workers and others. They’ve got plenty to offer.

This Government’s programs like Job Services Australia and Disability Employment Services mesh with our wage subsidies to give these people a fair go and employers new workers and new arrangements that can bring so many benefits.

Ensuring every Australian who can work has the opportunity to do so is important for Australia’s long-term prosperity.

And it’s important for individuals too. The advantages of a job go far beyond the pay packet. A job builds self-esteem and helps people be more connected with their community.

In short, the Government is committed to fair workplaces and a strong economy that creates job opportunities for more Australians.

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