The Baird NSW Government had previously introduced legislation to strip out the functions of the current stand-alone Industrial Court and have these placed in, and exercised by the Supreme Court of NSW. The Association, along with all other unions and Unions NSW, argued against such a change on a number of grounds, including that it would make access to industrial justice more difficult and it would erode the importance and specialist nature of industrial and employment law. No set of laws touch so many families and individuals in the community as those that fix rates of pay, conditions of employment, and rights at work.
Despite the NSW Opposition and a number of cross-bench members in the Legislative Council attempting to prevent or modify the change, the legislation has now passed the NSW Parliament and received royal assent. The Association will now monitor the transitional arrangements that will be required into the future. One by-product of the debate in the parliament was that the NSW Government has committed to maintaining the current number of Commission members (five) following the departure of the current President of the IRC – who has been appointed to the Supreme Court as part of the above changes.
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