Industrial Relations Act changes introduced to Queensland Parliament

Published Thursday, 23 June, 2022 at 04:00 PM

Minister for Education, Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Racing
The Honourable Grace Grace

The Palaszczuk Government has today introduced nation-leading reforms to protect workers from sexual harassment as part of a number of changes to Queensland’s industrial laws.

The Bill to amend Queensland’s Industrial Relations Act 2016 (IR Act) was introduced to Parliament following an independent five-year review.

Changes to Queensland’s industrial relations framework include:

  • strengthening protections for workers subject to sexual harassment, and sex and gender-based harassment, by providing conciliation, arbitration and injunctive powers to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC)
  • empowers the QIRC to set minimum conditions and entitlements for independent courier drivers
  • improvements to entitlements under the Queensland Employment Standards, including parental and adoption leave
  • enhancing effective representation of employers and employees by organisations registered under the Act  
  • gender pay equity provisions introduced into the bargaining process

Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace said the changes to the Act will ensure Queensland’s industrial protections remain consistent with the changing nature of work, and that the state’s industrial laws remain relevant for both employers and employees.

“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to doing all we can to prevent sexual harassment and gender inequity,” Ms Grace said.

“That’s why I am proud that the Palaszczuk Government is introducing nation-leading reforms which provide workers subject to this type of abhorrent conduct a variety of remedies available through the QIRC.”

The Bill also empowers the QIRC to make orders setting minimum conditions for independent courier drivers in the transport industry.

“Lack of regulation creates serious safety risks and impacts on the financial security of these workers, which is why we are taking action,” Ms Grace said.

Changes to the Act will also provide clear distinctions between registered employer and employee organisations and other bodies, not registered under the Act, who seek to represent employers and employees.

“The Bill acknowledges the primacy of the role registered employer and employee organisations play,” Ms Grace said.

“It will provide protections against those who make false and misleading claims about being able to represent the industrial interests of employers and employees under the Act.”

Notes to journalists:

The independent review of the Act was led by former Queensland Attorney-General Ms Linda Lavarch and former industrial commissioner Mr John Thompson. The Government accepted all 40 Review recommendations, 36 in full and 4 in principle. The Bill introduced today will give legislative effect to 31 recommendations. 

The Act provides an industrial relations framework for Queensland and regulates the state public sector, local government employees and the employees of several statutory authorities.


Media Contact: Kate Talbot, 0439 803 211