issued: Wednesday, 21 September 2016
The NSW Government is introducing new laws today to move the judicial functions of the NSW Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) to the Supreme Court, Attorney General Gabrielle Upton announced.
The IRC consists of the Commission, which has non judicial functions like the arbitration of industrial disputes and setting wages and conditions of employment, and the Industrial Court, which has judicial functions.
“Following a targeted consultation with key stakeholders, the NSW Government is introducing the Industrial Relations Amendment (Industrial Court) Bill 2016 to deal with industrial relations cases more effectively,” Ms Upton said.
“In the last decade, the Industrial Court workload has significantly decreased. Last year only 37 matters commenced in the Industrial Court, compared to 766 matters in 2005.”
Integrating the Industrial Court with the Supreme Court allows existing Supreme Court judges to hear matters as required, and urgently allocate judicial resources to matters from a larger pool of judges.
The sole existing judge and current President of the IRC, the Hon Justice Michael J Walton, will be appointed to the Supreme Court.
The Commission will retain all of its existing functions.
The bill will also create the office of the Chief Commissioner, who will be appointed to lead the IRC.