28 February, 2024
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Industrial relations reform bill passes parliament


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New laws which pave the way for a better industrial relations system in NSW have passed parliament today, creating the structure needed to deliver meaningful improvements to wages and conditions for hundreds and thousands of workers in the state.

The passage of the new laws, on the final sitting week of parliament for the year, marks the beginning of a more considered and independent way of settling industrial relations disputes, and negotiating wages and conditions.

Agencies and unions are now able to sit down together and find mutually agreed improvements to pay and conditions in NSW, a style of negotiation that was alien under the former government.

The new laws remove the power to cap wages for good, meaning the government’s meddling in the work of the Industrial Relations Commission which sets awards and settles disputes, is over.

The NSW Industrial Court, which was weakened and dismantled under the former government, will also be re-established, including the appointment of expert judges, who will preside over workplace health and safety matters and underpayments.

The Minns Labor Government was elected with a clear mandate to scrap the wages cap and sit down for genuine negotiation with our frontline workers.

This government is committed to improving working conditions, stopping our frontline workers quitting and attracting more people to these vital roles.

Quotes attributable to the Treasurer, Daniel Mookhey:

“We promised meaningful industrial relations reform and today this has been delivered.

“It has been a long, difficult 12 and a half years for public sector and essential workers in NSW – but that is now at an end.

“The wages cap is gone and workers will be able to negotiate for a fair and decent wage increase.

“The blunt, unsophisticated instrument of the former government’s approach has been replaced by a resumption of genuine, meaningful public sector bargaining.”

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Industrial Relations, Sophie Cotsis:

“I congratulate health workers, nurses, paramedics, police, child protection workers, teachers, cleaners, firefighters, transport workers and many more essential workers who spent years campaigning to scrap the wages cap. This is their victory.

“NSW will have a modern industrial relations system that enables fair wages to be negotiated and disputes to be resolved”.

“The former government’s wages cap and wage suppression created a recruitment and retention crisis in public services and this is the beginning of reversing that damage”.

Daniel Mookhey

Treasurer of New South Wales

Sophie Cotsis

Minister for Industrial Relations

Minister for Work Health and Safety

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