Friday, January 30, 2009


WA: Individual agreements part of new state IR regime: Buswell

30 January 2009 Content provided to you by AAP.

By Jo Prichard

Individual workplace agreements will be part of a new industrial relations regime in Western Australia, Treasurer Troy Buswell says.

Mr Buswell told a Senate committee inquiring into the Fair Work Bill in Perth that WA will not be signing up to the new federal system.Employers should have the flexibility to be able to make individual contracts a precondition of employment, he told the inquiry on Thursday.

NSW Senator Doug Cameron, a member of the committee, asked Mr Buswell how it would work.

"That would be part of the discussion and the understanding of the decision to take a job or not," Mr Buswell replied.

"So it's 'my way or the highway' ... back to Work Choices?" Senator Cameron asked."It's our view that ... (employees and employers should) arrange their affairs to have flexibility as they see fit,"

Mr Buswell said."You don't have to take the job, at the end of the day."

Outside the hearing, Mr Buswell said it was not the state's intention to return to building a new industrial relations system.

"In most aspects, the Fair Work Bill will provide a base to start from in recrafting a new WA industrial relations system, but we acknowledge we do have some issues with some aspects of that," he said.

"We're not going to revisit industrial relations history in Western Australia," he said, referring to the former WA IR regime run by Liberal minister Graham Kierath.

"Our starting point will be to examine the Fair Work legislation and then to work from there."

Unions WA Secretary Dave Robinson said it was clear Mr Buswell planned to adopt part of the former federal government's Work Choices legislation in the new WA laws.

"He is saying ... you have to sign up to an individual flexibility agreement before you get the job ... that is very very similar to what occurred under Work Choices," Mr Robinson said.

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