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Fair Work Act 2009����������������������������������������������������






s.285 - Annual wage review


Annual wage review





9.00 AM, TUESDAY, 13 DECEMBER 2022


THE ASSOCIATE:  Good morning, Mr Farrow, my name is Caroline, I'm the Acting President's associate.  Could I just confirm your appearance, please?


MR S FARROW:  Sure thing.  Good morning, Caroline, my name is Simon Farrow, I'm appearing on behalf of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.


THE ASSOCIATE:  Thanks very much.


Good morning parties, it's the Acting President's associate here.  I might just confirm some appearances that I haven't yet confirmed.  So, Mr Ferguson, I confirm you appear on behalf of Ai Group, this morning?


MR B FERGUSON:  Yes, thank you.


THE ASSOCIATE:  Mr Clarke, on behalf of the Australian Council of Trade Unions?


MR T CLARKE:  That's right, yes.


THE ASSOCIATE:  Ms Wills, on behalf of the Australian Services Union?


MS V WILLS:  Yes, thank you.  Good morning.


THE ASSOCIATE:  Thank you.


Good morning, again, it's the Acting President's associate here, I might just confirm a couple of appearances from those who have just joined the call.


Mr Kenchington-Evans, I confirm you appear on behalf of the Australian Education Union?


MR J KENCHINGTON-EVANS:  Thank you, associate.


THE ASSOCIATE:  And Ms Wischer?  I think you might be on mute.


MS K WISCHER:  Yes, thank you, associate, I appear on behalf of the ANMF.


THE ASSOCIATE:  ANMF did you say?


MS WISCHER:  Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation.


THE ASSOCIATE:  Thanks very much.  And Mr Collier?


MR COLLIER:  I don't intend to make an appearance, I'm just here observing, on behalf of the ANMF NSW Branch.


THE ASSOCIATE:  Thank you.


Good morning, again, parties, it's the Acting President's associate here.  Just confirming that there's no one on the call how attends to address the Acting President this morning whose appearance I haven't already confirmed?


Thank you.  We'll get underway shortly.


The Fair Work Commission is now in session.  This is matter C2023/1, the Annual Wage Review 2022/2023 for mention.


ACTING PRESIDENT HATCHER:  I'll take appearances.  Mr Ferguson, you appear for the Ai Group?


MR FERGUSON:  Yes, thank you, President.


ACTING PRESIDENT HATCHER:  Ms Farrow, you appear for the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry?  Mr Farrow, sorry.


MR FARROW:  Yes, Acting President.


ACTING PRESIDENT HATCHER:  Mr Clarke, you appear for the ACTU?


MR CLARKE:  Yes, your Honour.


ACTING PRESIDENT HATCHER:  Mr Kenchington-Evans, you appear for the AEU?


MR KENCHINGTON-EVANS:  Thank you, Acting President.


ACTING PRESIDENT HATCHER:  Ms Wischer, you appear for the Australian Nurses and Midwifery Association?  Yes, thank you.


And, Ms Wills, you appear for the ASU?


MS WILLS:  Yes, your Honour, good morning.


ACTING PRESIDENT HATCHER:  I think, following on from the last Annual Wage Review, Austrian Industry Group and ACCI have expressed a position which they want to reagitate in this year's review, concerning a case-by-case approach to the consideration of copied state awards.  Does that remain the position, Mr Ferguson and Mr Farrow?


MR FERGUSON:  It's likely to, your Honour.  I'm not sure whether it's entirely accurate to say whether it's case-by-case or whether we may way that there should be a standard position that's adopted in relation to all copied state awards, but we will be agitating that position, arguing for some special treatment of copied state awards?




MR FARROW:  Yes, the same is true for ACCI, Acting President, yes.


ACTING PRESIDENT HATCHER:  I'm just trying to find out what the scope of any difference might be.  So it was foreshadowed, in the last decision, that there might be a preliminary hearing, in March next year, about this issue.  Is it still appropriate to do that, or do I perceive that perhaps Ai Group and ACCI haven't quite formulated their positions yet?


MR FERGUSON:  Not quite formulated our positions, but it may still be appropriate to have a preliminary hearing.  We were going to propose a potential simple timeframe.




MR FERGUSON:  I think one option we'd suggest is the parties file any submissions and material, in relation to the treatment of copied state awards, in the context of the Annual Wage Review, on 3 February.  Then any material in reply is filed on 17 February.  We would expect that would permit a preliminary hearing in early March.  It may be prudent for your Honour to have a short mention a few days before that, just to deal with any programming, if the material requires that.


For our part, we don't envisage filing substantial evidence, it would largely be submissions, perhaps a statement or two, but we haven't got a conclusive view about that, from the relevant members.


ACTING PRESIDENT HATCHER:  In respect of the issue which agitated the panel, in the 2022 review, that is, the position of all the privatised bus companies in New South Wales, am I safe to assume that issue, in effect, has now faded into history because there are instruments that provide for further wage increases?


MR FERGUSON:  I can't comment in relation to the bus companies specifically.  We know - - -


MR FARROW:  I believe that's correct, Acting President, I do believe that's correct.


ACTING PRESIDENT HATCHER:  All right.  Well, Mr Clarke, I might turn to you now, do you want to respond to that proposal?


MR CLARKE:  Yes, thank you, your Honour.  From our point of view, assuming that there were no orders for any kind of responses to replies, we were thinking that, certainly, all the material you wanted in would need to be in by the 24th at the latest.  The only real issue about the start date, the kick-off date, really, is just in terms of making sure all of the people who might want to express a view about all of this are back on deck and have had time to grapple with it.  So we weren't sure whether 3 February actually provided sufficient time for that.  10 Feb probably does, and if we extend the replies out to 24th, you've still got a week before the hearing, assuming the hearing is actually going to be - I think it's been set down for a preliminary hearing, on the basis that we don't want to deal with it on the papers but you actually want to pose questions to us and get us to grapple with them, in a way to solve the problem.


ACTING PRESIDENT HATCHER:  Would I be right in assuming that the ACTU's approach would generally just be that any increase determined by the panel would be applied uniformly to copied state awards?


MR CLARKE:  We've expressed that position in the past.  We've also offered up that tiered approach, which was the standard approach, for a long period of time.  But reading the tea leaves in the decision that was handed down last year, it sort of occurred to me that perhaps this was going to be a slightly different process.  I wasn't sure whether you were going to come to this mention proposing there'd be some kind of background paper that categorised the different types of copied state awards and the arrangements under which they're made or the source awards are made.  How many of the source awards have ongoing wage increases and how many didn't, and whether there was specific questions that you wanted to put to us, in the lead up, or whether it was just going to be, you know, we all put a position, we all respond to a position and the Bench comes up with something.


ACTING PRESIDENT HATCHER:  I'm not sure that we have a whole lot of information about copied state awards, beyond what was put in last years' background paper.  Aside from these privatised companies, I'm not - I'll make some inquiries, but I'm not sure that we actually know who's covered by these things.  I'll make that comment, Mr Clarke.


So what's your preferred timetable then?


MR CLARKE:  I think if the hearing is on 3 March we could possibly attend the last day of submissions, reply submissions, out to the 24th, but no later than the 24th.  So maybe something a bit later than the 17th but no later than the 24th, then that would enable the initial submissions to go in a bit later than 3 Feb, maybe up to the 10th, just to make sure that all of our affiliates and probably some of the state-based businesses that feed into the employer associations have got an opportunity to engage with it.


ACTING PRESIDENT HATCHER:  Thank you.  Do any of the other union representatives wish to put any different position?  No?  Are those dates proposed by Mr Clarke suitable, Mr Ferguson?


MR FERGUSON:  Yes, we're comfortable with that course.


MR FARROW:  Yes, thank you, Acting President.


ACTING PRESIDENT HATCHER:  All right.  I thank everyone for their attendance.  We'll issue a formal direction and listing in due course, and we'll now adjourn.

ADJOURNED INDEFINITELY����������������������������������������������������������� [9.29 AM]