The Australian Fair Pay Commission (AFPC) has been asked by the Minister for Employment & Workplace Relations to cease the current reviews into junior and training wages and Australian Pay and Classification Scales (Pay Scales).
The Minister has also asked the AFPC to continue to undertake its primary role of setting and adjusting minimum rates of pay, pending the establishment of Fair Work Australia in 2010.
As stated in the Government’sForward with Fairness – Policy Implementation Planreleased in August 2007, awards will be modernised and simplified by the AIRC from early 2008.
As foreshadowed prior to the election, it is the Rudd Government’s firm view that the AFPC’s review of Pay Scales and junior and training wages will both overlap with and duplicate the award modernisation process, to be conducted by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC).
The Minister today requested Professor Ian Harper the chair of the AFPC to cease these activities as soon as possible to avoid significant confusion, cost and uncertainty for employees, employers, unions and employer organisations.
The various reviews being conducted by the AFPC at the direction of the previous Liberal government was a piecemeal approach.
On the other hand, the Rudd Government is committed to getting the job that needs doing done, modernising and simplifying more than 4,300 awards.
As approved by Cabinet, the legislative changes required will be included in the Government’s transition bill which will be put to the very first sitting of Parliament next year.
The transition bill will be a matter for discussion at the meeting of the National Workplace Relations Consultative Council this afternoon.