Annual Report 2014–15 search
Our clients and stakeholders
The Commission's work affects most of Australia's employees and employers and as a consequence it has a diverse group of clients and stakeholders.
It has jurisdiction over a national system which covers all employees of private businesses (with the exception of some businesses in Western Australia) and public sector and local government employment in some states and territories.
The Commission's clients and stakeholders include:
- employees and employers
- unions and employer organisations
- the public
- legal practitioners, human resources professionals and other workplace relations advisors
- federal, state, territory and local governments.
The Commission recognises that the needs of the community it serves are changing and so it regularly consults with clients, stakeholders and the broader community to ensure the services it provides meet the demands of a contemporary workplace relations system. The Commission's engagement strategy has a number of complementary elements that include the Future Directions change program, and a range of ongoing initiatives such as:
- the Workplace Relations Education Series
- the domestic briefings program
- the Quarterly Practitioner Update
- the benchbooks and other information materials
- the pro bono schemes in Melbourne and Sydney, and
- the Commission's work with the international community.
During the year the President has updated stakeholders on the progress of Future Directions initiatives at two information events, one in Sydney and one in Melbourne.
Workplace Relations Education Series
The Commission's Workplace Relations Education Series continued during the reporting period with events held in Brisbane, Perth, Hobart, Adelaide and Melbourne. The series includes mock hearings, lectures, and an invited paper series. These initiatives provide an opportunity for those interested in the Commission's work to hear from prominent academics and to observe how Commission proceedings are conducted.
The mock hearings have attracted large numbers of students, practitioners and human resource professionals who observe senior barristers and lawyers argue the merits of unfair dismissal and anti-bullying matters. The lectures feature presentations on a range of workplace relations topics by local and international academics and experts, and are held in collaboration with universities around Australia.
The Commission's invited paper series features papers on relevant workplace relations issues, authored by external workplace relations academics, researchers and practitioners. During the year, four papers were published on the Commission's website, along with recordings of the lectures and mock hearings.
Domestic briefings program
Commission Members regularly give presentations and provide briefings at Commission premises or off-site at metropolitan or regional locations. The briefings can entail a formal presentation on a specific topic or an informal overview of the federal workplace relations system. During the year, briefings were conducted for 17 groups in Melbourne, 10 in Sydney, three in Brisbane, Perth and Canberra, and one each in Adelaide and Orange.
Engagement with Community Legal Centres
The Commission continued to work with community legal service providers in 2014–15. In particular during the reporting period the Commission worked closely with the Footscray Legal Centre. Commission Members and staff provided training to a group of community education workers, enabling them to deliver legal education sessions to their own communities in Melbourne's western suburbs.
Quarterly Practitioner Update newsletter
The first Quarterly Practitioner Update newsletter for 2015 was published in autumn. The Updates will assist workplace relations practitioners by providing information on the Commission's key decisions and about new or updated Commission forms, processes, resources and events. Anecdotal feedback about the newsletter has been very positive.
The Commission continues to engage with countries around the world that are interested in learning about Australia's workplace relations system.
Under the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Commission and the International Labour Organization (ILO), the ILO made two requests for assistance in the reporting period. Justice Boulton participated in an ILO-sponsored conference in Myanmar and Commissioner Roe provided training and technical assistance to the Employment Tribunal in the Maldives. These visits were funded by the ILO.
During the reporting period the Commission entered into agreements with two South East Asian government agencies. In June, the Commission President signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training of Cambodia and the Cambodian Arbitration Council; and signed a Letter of Understanding with the Ministry of Manpower in Singapore.
Under the guidance of its International Development Committee, the Commission also hosted eight international delegations including from:
- the Singapore Security Tripartite Cluster
- lawyers from the Czech Republic undertaking a study program at the Queensland University of Technology
- the Ministry of Manpower, Singapore
- the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, Cambodia, led by their Minister
- the Supreme Court of the Republic of Indonesia
- the Human Resources and Social Security Department of Liaoning Province, China
- Deputy Chief Justice of the High Court, Namibia and the Registrar of the High Court and Supreme Court of Namibia
- the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour.
As part of the G20 Meetings held in November 2014, the Commission provided a briefing to the South African Minister for Labour.
The International Development Committee also continues to be invited to attend the meetings of the International Labour Affairs Committee chaired by the Department of Employment. The committee met on 15 October 2014 and 27 February 2015.