Queensland Industrial Relations laws strengthened

Published Friday, 28 October, 2022 at 02:18 PM

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

Queensland workers will have strengthened protection from sexual, sex or gender-based workplace harassment and better access to parental leave and domestic and family violence leave following new laws passed in the Queensland parliament today.

Key reforms also include:

  • improving the Queensland Employment Standards
  • promoting gender pay equity in collective bargaining negotiations
  • clarifying rules around representation provided by registered organisations for employers and workers
  • ensuring agents appointed to appear in the Commission act appropriately
  • enhancing working conditions and protections for independent courier drivers.

Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace said the Industrial Relations and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 delivers on the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to provide important protections for workers and give effect to the recommendations of the five-year review of the laws.

“We’re committed to providing good, secure jobs as our economy continues to grow and I am proud that Queensland is driving the national industrial relations conversation,” Ms Grace said.

“The changes empower the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission to conciliate, arbitrate and issue injunctive relief to protect victims of sexual, sex or gender-based harassment.

“The QIRC is also empowered to set minimum conditions and entitlements for independent courier drivers. These changes however will not become operative until the Australian Government amends the Independent Contractors Regulation 2016 just as they have in other states.

“Minimum employment standards now align with federal standards by providing greater flexibility for paid and unpaid parental leave to include adoption, surrogacy or parentage transferred under a cultural recognition order.

“The Bill also provides enhanced birth related and parental leave, and allows individual parents to allocate childcare responsibilities in a way that works best for their family’s circumstances."

Queensland is also extending paid Domestic and Family Violence leave to casuals employed under the Queensland industrial relations jurisdiction.

“Casual workers will now be able to access ten paid days of leave to assist them or their families when escaping domestic violence,” Ms Grace said.

“While collective bargaining has delivered stronger wages and working conditions in exchange for flexible and productive workplaces, we still have gender pay inequality. That’s why we have introduced provisions in the Act to ensure the promotion of gender pay equity in the bargaining process.”

The Bill also clarifies rules around representation for employees and employers under the Act.

“I make no apologies for ensuring the primacy of registered employer and employee organisations as part of our industrial relations framework, as has been the case for generations in Australia’s industrial system,” Ms Grace said.

“Changes provide protections against organisations and individuals who make false and misleading claims about being able to represent the industrial interests of employers and employees under the Act."

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