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State referrals Bill must be passed

27 November 2009

Joint Statement

by the National Farmers' Federation, the Australian Council of Trade Unions and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Australian Industry Group, and the Business Council of Australia

AUSTRALIA'S peak worker and business organisations have today made a united call on the Senate to pass legislation allowing the creation of a single industrial relations system for the private sector in most Australian States.

The National Farmers’ Federation, the Australian Council of Trade Unions and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the state referrals Bill should be immediately passed so employees and employers had clarity about the laws which apply to them.

These arrangements for a single national system for the private sector have been arrived at following extensive negotiations between governments, and represent a step forward for co-operative federalism.

We note that the referring States have now passed their own legislation to transfer IR powers to the Commonwealth, and all that awaits is approval by the Senate of these referrals.

There is consensus between unions and business on the value of completing the national industrial relations system, notwithstanding our differences from time to time over the content of IR laws.

There is now only a short time frame for the federal and state governments to conclude this landmark reform before the required operative date of 1 January 2010.

In a bipartisan manner, we jointly support the passage of the legislation and urge Senators to give effect to this national reform initiative.

David Crombie
President, National Farmers’ Federation

Sharan Burrow
President, Australian Council of Trade Unions

Peter Anderson
Chief Executive, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

[ENDS]

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