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WORKCHOICES RULING WELCOME BUT STILL MORE WORK TO DO: NFF

14 November 2006

Today's High Court decision to uphold the validity of WorkChoices and the Federal Government’s use of the ‘corporations power’ to effectively legislate with respect to industrial relations was welcomed by the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF).

The decision, affirming the Federal Government’s ability to create a national system based on the constitutional corporations power, should be the catalyst for State Governments to now relinquish their remaining industrial powers to enable WorkChoices to be extended to all businesses, including those who are not incorporated.

“NFF urges State Governments to follow the lead of Victoria and refer industrial powers to the Commonwealth to establish one truly national system,” NFF President David Crombie said. “While the transitional period of five years has been upheld today, this limits access to the Federal IR system.

“It is ludicrous that unincorporated farmers do not have access to the full benefits of WorkChoices because of the recalcitrant position of State Governments who cling on to out-dated state industrial systems for a very small number of employers.

“The simplest option for farmers to access WorkChoices, particularly agreement making, is for a referral of state powers, rather for farmers to incorporate. The alternative option is forcing farmers to incorporate but NFF continues to stress to Federal and State Governments that there are inherent problems for farmers to incorporate.

“NFF is also encouraged by the willingness of the Federal Government, following lobbying by the NFF, to announce amendments to WorkChoices with key changes announced yesterday relating to hours of work and record-keeping.

“Relaxing these means records need only be kept for employees who work overtime, freeing up small business and farmers’ time in managing red-tape. Following Government recognition of this unnecessary burden, we are no longer required to file reams of paperwork for piece workers, or as a blanket requirement for all staff earning less than $55,000 per annum.”

Media Enquiries: Brett Heffernan, NFF Public Affairs, (02) 6273 3855 or 0408 448 250 email:

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