A CLAYTON UTZ workplace relations lawyer last week called for the creation of a new and more comprehensive tribunal to handle all employment law matters in New South Wales.
Speaking at a seminar for the Industrial Relations Society in Sydney last week, Joe Catanzariti said the creation of an employment tribunal for NSW would “herald a new beginning for employment and industrial law in NSW”.
The new tribunal would assume jurisdiction over all workplace matters, Catanzariti said, thus solving the ongoing jurisdictional disputes between different courts in the State.
The tribunal would take care of industrial disputes, occupational health and safety claims, unfair dismissals, privacy issues and any discrimination and privacy in employment matters that are currently heard by the Administrative Decisions Tribunal (ADT).
The new tribunal would be a “one stop shop” for employers, trade unions and employees in NSW, Catanzariti said, thereby removing much of the complexity and uncertainty characterising the present system.
The all encompassing body would cut out forum shopping, and would remove some of the absurd results that may arise from the Supreme Court and the NSW Industrial Relations Commission taking different approaches on the same matter, he said. The new body would have Supreme Court status, he suggested.
He invited politicians from all sides to consider the proposal, saying they would thereby make a statement that they are “genuinely concerned” for employees, independent contractors and “that they accept that there has to be a legal system which is not complex but which has certainty”.
“The citizens of NSW would have affordable justice and access to specialists in this area of the law,” Catanzariti said.