This week the NSW government introduced new laws to move the judicial functions of the NSW Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) to the Supreme Court.
NSW Attorney-General Gabrielle Upton made the announcement on Wednesday 21 September.
The IRC consists of the commission, which has non-judicial functions such as the arbitration of industrial disputes and setting wages and conditions of employment, and the Industrial Court, which has judicial functions.
While the commission will retain all of its existing functions, the integration of the Industrial Court into the Supreme Court will allow existing Supreme Court judges to hear matters as required, and allocate judicial resources to matters from a larger pool of judges.
“Following a targeted consultation with key stakeholders, the NSW government is introducing the Industrial Relations Amendment (Industrial Court) Bill 2016 to deal with industrial relations cases more effectively,” Ms Upton said.
“In the last decade, the Industrial Court workload has significantly decreased. Last year only 37 matters commenced in the Industrial Court, compared to 766 matters in 2005.”
The sole existing judge and current president of the IRC, the Honourable Justice Michael J Walton, will be appointed to the Supreme Court.