[2011] FWAA 8555

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Fair Work Act 2009
s.185—Enterprise agreement

Australia Western Railroad Pty Ltd T/A ARG - A QR Company


Rail industry



Application for approval of the Australia Western Railroad (Western Australia) Rail Operations Enterprise Agreement 2011.

[1] An application has been made for approval of an enterprise agreement known as the Australia Western Railroad (Western Australia) Rail Operations Enterprise Agreement 2011 (the Agreement). The application was made pursuant to s.185 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (the Act). It has been made by Australia Western Railroad Pty Ltd T/A ARG - A QR Company. The agreement is a single enterprise agreement.

[2] Correspondence was received from a locomotive driver employed by the applicant employer raising a series of concerns as to how the Agreement would negatively impact on his particular existing working arrangements and objecting to the Agreement.

[3] Whilst it may well be the case that some individual employees will be subject to changes which they object to if the Agreement is approved, the question for determination is whether the Agreement meets the statutory requirements specified in s.186 and s.187 of the Act.

[4] Relevantly one requirement is that the Agreement passes the better of overall test prescribed in s.193.

[5] The question posed by the better off overall test is not whether each employee is better off under the Agreement compared to their particular existing working arrangements but whether they are better off overall if the Agreement applied rather than the relevant modern award.

[6] Considering that question, and noting the concerns raised by the objecting employee, I am satisfied that the Agreement passes the better off overall test.

[7] The Agreement provides for significant increases in ordinary wage rates, uncapped severance payments, paid meal breaks, extra personal leave, compassionate leave and paid emergency services leave over the Award.

[8] Some Award benefits are reduced but overall these are clearly more than offset by the Agreements benefits.

[9] I am satisfied then that each of the requirements of ss.186, 187 and 188 of the Act as are relevant to this application for approval have been met.

[10] The Australian Rail, Tram and Bus Industry Union, being a bargaining representative for the Agreement, has given notice under s.183 of the Act that it wants the Agreement to cover it. In accordance with s.201(2) of the Act I note that the Agreement covers the organisation.

[11] The Agreement is approved and, in accordance with s.54 of the Act, will operate from 21 December 2011. The nominal expiry date of the Agreement is 30 June 2014.


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