Attorney-General announces key measures to support industrial relations system

What HR leaders need to know about funding in the workplace system

Attorney-General announces key measures to support industrial relations system

This week, the office of Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations Michaelia Cash announced the government’s investment in the country’s workplace and legal systems to strengthen citizens’ access to services, support and advice.

According to a media release, the Morrison government’s 2022-23 budget includes measures that would give additional funding to several portfolio agencies. The funds would target necessary oversight and functions, including industrial relations agencies to help businesses with their economic recovery.

The measures are also expected to enhance legal services for people affected by domestic and family violence and disasters such as the recent floods.

Key measures for the industrial relations portfolio

To support efficient and productive workplaces, the Australian government will provide:

  • $5.6 million over 4 years to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) for a small business support unit to improve employer/employee experiences when navigating the Fair Work system.
  • $2.7 million in 2022-23 to the Fair Work Ombudsman to assist employers and employees during the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government will consult with key stakeholders on amending the National Employment Standards to:

  • ensure fairness and equity in redundancy payouts, particularly for women.
  • extend an unpaid leave entitlement to foster and kinship carers in recognition of the vital contributions these carers make to the Australian community and some of our country’s most vulnerable children.

According to Cash, the government would also continue prioritizing the commitments it had made in response to the Respect@Work Report – A Roadmap for Respect.

In line with the report’s recommendations, the government would inject $1.6 million of funds over 2 years to establish a specialist outreach team in the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) to develop frameworks and guides to deal with allegations of “historical workplace sexual harassment.”

“The Morrison Government continues to deliver the essential services Australians rely on, and our continued investment and innovation will ensure Australia’s legal and justice system is accessible and responsive. It will also ensure workplaces are fair, productive, flexible, safe and growing as we build a more secure Australia,” Cash’s media release said.

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