AMID uncertainty in Canberra about whether the federal referral legislation will pass this year, New South Wales has today passed legislation to refer its private sector industrial relations power.
Deputy Premier Carmel Tebbutt, on behalf of IR Minister John Hatzistergos, introduced the Industrial Relations (Commonwealth Powers) Bill this morning.
In her second reading speech, Tebbutt said the legislation would extend the coverage of the Fair Work Act to private sector employees and employers in NSW. It would exclude the state public service and local government.
She said the national system "removes once and for all the ebb and flow of businesses between federal and state laws".
"Determining which industrial relations laws apply to a particular workplace will no longer turn on arcane and legalistic questions of whether or not an employer is a constitutional corporation," she said.
"Similarly this bill removes the need to apply the constitutional test as to whether an employer was genuinely part of an interstate industrial dispute.
"This referral will eliminate any uncertainty about the status of employers and ensure that all employers and employees in the private sector are covered by the same broad industrial relations framework.
"It will bring unincorporated businesses and charities into the system which will from 1 January 2010 cover all private sector organisations in Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and the two territories", she said.