One of the functions of the Fair Work Commission is 'promoting cooperative and productive workplace relations and preventing disputes' (see s.576(2)(aa) of the Fair Work Act 2009).
The Commission can help employers, employees and their representatives build cooperative and productive workplaces that accept change and foster innovation.
New Approaches complements the Commission’s existing dispute resolution and bargaining functions by providing a formal process to help parties to work together effectively to prevent disputes before they develop.
The New Approaches jurisdiction enables the Commission to work with parties to:
The Commission may provide assistance where one or more employer and employee parties at a workplace or business agree to the Commission’s involvement.
The services the Commission may provide include:
One or more employer and employee parties at a workplace or business who agree to the Commission providing assistance can make an application. To do so, parties should use Form F79 – Application for the Commission’s assistance to promote cooperative and productive workplaces and prevent disputes (Word).
All applications received will be assessed by the Commission, in consultation with the parties, to determine whether the application is appropriate for the New Approaches jurisdiction.
Parties can request the assistance of a specific Commission Member in their application form. Requests will be assessed and accommodated where possible.
If no Commission Member is specified in the application, a Commission Member will be allocated to the matter as part of the application assessment process.
For information on how the New Approaches program has assisted parties to date, please visit the New Approaches case studies page.
A New Approaches research reference list (PDF) is available and provides information for users seeking to further their understanding of the concepts that underpin the program, such as interest based bargaining and alternate dispute and conflict resolution techniques.
If parties would like to discuss the New Approaches process before agreeing to make an application, please contact the Commission at NewApproaches@fwc.gov.au.
Please note: this model illustrates an overview of the New Approaches process. Some applications may be more complex, so the process may require additional steps.
Parties agree to approach the Fair Work Commission for assistance
Parties complete and lodge the application Form F79 with the Commission
The Commission assesses the suitability of the application to be handled as a New Approaches matter
Application assessed as suitable for New Approaches and the parties are notified
New Approaches file is allocated to a Commission Member
Workshops / conferences conducted with the parties to progress the discussions and negotiations
Commission provides ongoing support and guidance throughout the life of the application
Matters subject to the application conclude
Application assessed as not suitable for New Approaches and parties are advised.
Advice may include an alternative provision under the Fair Work Act to access the Commission's assistance