Wage fixation under the new laws

The new legislation provides novel options for regulating wage rates, including ‘bargaining awards’, award variations reflecting ‘prevailing’ conditions rather than a minimum ‘safety net’, flow on of certified agreement provisions into awards, more flexible certified agreement processes, and more balanced arbitration rules.

There is wide scope within the state legislation to accommodate the findings of the independent remuneration inquiry, without prematurely restricting options to any particular avenue.

We expect the inquiry will not simply illustrate the changes to the nature of work within QAS [‘work value’], but will also analyse external comparisons of actual pay with other services [‘comparative wage justice’]. Critically, the inquiry is not restricted to minimum award rates, but actual paid rates.

We will wait for the independent report and inquiry findings, before predicting its implications for future wage increases, but we expect the report to form the basis of agreed increases. If the independent report justifies government agreeing to fair wage rates, we aren’t going to rule out an agreed option, on the basis of hoping an industrial tribunal will eventually order the government to pay up.

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