FWA backs new ‘modern’ award system

18-01-2011

The Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) has welcomed a Full Bench of Fair Work Australia (FWA) decision regarding workplace awards handed down late last year.

The FWA adopted the Ai Group’s interpretation of the Fair Work laws, rather than the unions.

“This will ensure Australia’s modern award system is not undermined by the retention of a large number of old, outdated awards," says Ai Group Chief Executive Heather Ridout.

"In the proceedings relating to the 'Termination of Modernisable Instruments,' Ai Group argued that now that the modern award system is in operation, FWA is required to terminate the hundreds of old industry and occupational awards which were considered during the award modernisation process as soon as practicable.

The unions argued that the Fair Work legislation requires that FWA vary the terms of the old awards and preserve their operation indefinitely to ensure that there are no gaps in award coverage.

“The unions’ approach of seeking to cling to the past would have opened up numerous award coverage issues which were contested and resolved during the award modernisation process.

“FWA has provided a final opportunity for submissions to be made on any particular award by early March 2011. Shortly after, the Tribunal intends to terminate hundreds of old awards.

"This is an important step in delivering a genuinely modern award system for Australia," Ms Ridout said.

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