Legislation

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There are a number of key laws that govern the national workplace relations system.

Fair Work Act 2009 & the supplementary Fair Work Regulations 2009

The Fair Work Act 2009 (‘FW Act’) and the supplementary Fair Work Regulations 2009 were created to ensure there is a balanced framework for cooperative and productive workplace relations; one that promotes national economic prosperity and social inclusion for all Australians.

The FW Act and Regulations do this by:

  • providing workplace laws that:
    • are fair to working Australians
    • are flexible for business
    • promote productivity and economic growth for our future economic prosperity
    • take into account our international labour obligations
  • ensuring a safety net that is fair and relevant
  • ensuring workplace agreements that undermine the safety net can never again be a part of the national workplace relations system
  • helping employees balance work and life commitments by offering flexible working arrangements
  • enabling fairness at work and preventing discrimination in the workplace
  • achieving productivity and fairness by emphasising workplace-level collective bargaining between the employer and employees and their representatives.

Fair Work Act 2009 (ComLaw website) External link icon
Fair Work Regulations 2009 (ComLaw website) External link icon

Fair Work (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Act 2009

The Fair Work (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Act 2009 makes transitional and consequential provisions in relation to the national federal workplace relations system set out in the Fair Work Act 2009.

The Act does this by:

  • repealing the Workplace Relations Act 1996 (other than schedules 1 and 10) and renames it the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009 to reflect its remaining content;
  • making transitional provisions to move employers, employees and organisations from the old WR Act system to the new system
  • making consequential amendments to Commonwealth legislation that are essential to the operation of the FW Act (e.g. the creation of the Fair Work Divisions of the Federal Court and the Federal Circuit Court).

Fair Work (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Act 2009 (ComLaw website)  External link icon

Fair Work (State Referral and Consequential and Other Amendments) Act 2009

The Fair Work (State Referral and Consequential and Other Amendments) Act 2009  amends the Fair Work Act 2009 (‘FW Act’) to enable States to refer matters to the Commonwealth to establish a national workplace relations system. The Act makes transitional arrangements for Victorian employees and employers, who were covered by the Workplace Relations Act 1996 as a result of a reference of power and who are covered by a new reference of power.

This Act also makes transitional and consequential amendments to other Commonwealth legislation required as a result of the FW Act  and the Fair Work (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Act 2009.

Fair Work Amendment (State Referrals and Consequential and Other Amendments) Act 2009 (ComLaw website) External link icon

Fair Work Amendment (State Referrals and Other Measures) Act 2009

The Fair Work (State Referrals and Other Measures) Act 2009:

  • amends the Fair Work Act 2009 to give effect to state government referrals of certain workplace relations matters to the Commonwealth (where those referrals occur between 1 July 2009 and 1 January 2010)
  • allows state governments to retain workplace relations powers in relation to state public sector employees and local government employees if they choose to do so.

At the current time, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania have all enacted legislation to refer certain workplace relations matters to the Commonwealth.

Fair Work Amendment (State Referrals and Other Measures) Act 2009 (ComLaw website) External link icon

Independent Contractors Act 2006

The Independent Contractors Act 2006 was developed to:

  • protect the freedom of independent contractors to enter into services contracts
  • recognise independent contracting as a legitimate form of work that is primarily commercial
  • prevent parties from interfering with the terms of genuine independent contracting arrangements.

The Act does this by recognising that the rights, entitlements, obligations and liabilities of the parties involved in a services contract are governed by the terms of the contract.

Independent Contractors Act 2006 (ComLaw website) External link icon 

Freedom of Information Act 1982

The Freedom of Information Act 1982 gives members of the public rights of access to official documents of the Government of the Commonwealth and of its agencies.

Freedom of Information Act 1982 (ComLaw website) External link icon

Privacy Act 1988

The Privacy Act 1988 makes provision to protect the privacy of individuals, and for related purposes.

Privacy Act 1988 (ComLaw website) External link icon

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Page last updated: 17 Apr 2013