State IR review welcomed

27 September, 2017

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry has welcomed a move by the McGowan Government to review the State industrial relations system.

Senior Counsel Mark Ritter, a barrister with extensive experience in employment and industrial relations law, has been appointed to undertake the review. 

The State system has not been comprehensively reviewed and updated since 2002 despite the industrial relations and employment environment changing significantly since then.

Unlike other states, WA has not referred legislative power concerning industrial relations to the Commonwealth.

While most private sector businesses are now covered by the national industrial relations system, a percentage of mostly small business employees (about 11 per cent) remain covered by the State system.

CCI Chief Executive Deidre Willmott says CCI will work with its Members to discuss how they would like to respond to the review’s terms of reference to ensure future regulation gives them the best opportunity to grow and create jobs.

“In WA, we continue to have two industrial relations systems which creates confusion amongst employers as to which one applies to them,” she says.

“It also results in duplication of costs which could be better spent by the State Government for other activities.

“In CCI’s incoming brief to the McGowan Government we recommended that the Government reform WA’s industrial relations system by referring our remaining industrial relations laws covering the private sector to the Commonwealth, or alternatively reforming the state system to address the modern needs of small business and organisations."

Other recommendations include:

  • Establishing a framework for reviewing industrial awards to ensure they reflect modern work practices and promote employment opportunities;
  • allowing small businesses to access simple to use agreements as an alternative to the award system; and
  • amending the unfair dismissal system to align with the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), which limits claims by employees within their first 12 months of employment for small businesses. 

The review's final report will be completed for the Government's consideration in about four months.

For more information, including the terms of reference of the review, visit here.

Members can share their thoughts with CCI’s Policy and Communications Manager Belinda Blackman at or (08) 9365 7728.