Release type: Media Release


Proclamation of Transition to Forward with Fairness Act

The Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations today proclaimed with the Governor General the Workplace Relations Amendment (Transition to Forward with Fairness) Act 2008.The proclamation of the Act is the beginning of the end of the previous Liberal Government's extreme Work Choices laws which were introduced two years ago today.The legislation reflects the Rudd Government's election commitments, which were set out in Forward with Fairness and the Forward with Fairness Implementation Policy Plan. The key previsions of the Transition to Forward with Fairness Act:
  • Prevents the making of new Australian Workplace Agreements;
  • Allows employers using AWAs as at 1 December 2007 to offer Individual Transitional Employment Agreements (ITEAs) to new employees and employers already on AWAs, for the transition period while award modernisation takes place;
  • Introduces a genuine no-disadvantage test for new collective agreements and ITEAs;
  • Enables the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) to undertake the process of award modernisation; and
  • Removes the requirement for employers to provide the Workplace Relations Fact Sheet to their employees.

Following the nominal expiry date of an AWA made under Work Choices, it may be terminated unilaterally by either the employer or employee on 90 days' notice. The employee would then be entitled to the benefit of the whole of an applicable collective agreement or award in the workplace.As requested by employer and employee representatives, the Act will allow parties to retain pre-Work Choices certified agreements and to extend or vary those agreements in limited circumstances to avoid a double transition prior to the commencement of the Government's new workplace relations system in 2010.The Government will introduce its substantive workplace relations reforms into Parliament later this year after extensive consultation, to ensure that the Rudd Government's new workplace relations system is fair, flexible and productive.