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Determination - 20 March 2008

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Remuneration of Commissioners of the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission

Section 6(1)(e) of the Salaries and Allowances Act 1975

Section 6(1)(e) of the Salaries and Allowances Act 1975 (the Act) requires the Tribunal, at intervals of not more than twelve months, to enquire into and determine the remuneration to be paid to the Chief Commissioner, Senior Commissioner and Commissioners of the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission (WAIRC).

BACKGROUND

The Tribunal’s last determination of the remuneration of the members of the WAIRC was issued on the 22nd of March 2007.  At that time the Tribunal enquired about the impact of the Commonwealth’s Work Choices legislation on the work of the WAIRC and concluded that more time would need to elapse before the impact could be determined accurately. The matter has been revisited in this determination.

CURRENT ENQUIRY

As part of conducting its current enquiry, the Tribunal placed an advertisement in “The West Australian” newspaper on Saturday, 12th of January 2008 and on its official website calling for submissions from interested persons and organisations.  It also wrote directly to the Chief Commissioner informing him of its current enquiry and inviting a submission.

The Tribunal received a submission from the WAIRC and a submission from the Western Australian Government.  No submissions were received in response to the newspaper advertisement.

SUBMISSIONS

The WAIRC, in its submission, indicated that there had been a decrease in work load as a result of the Commonwealth’s Work Choices legislation.  According to the submission, the Commonwealth legislation had had a similar effect on industrial relations commissions in other states.  The WAIRC made the point that the jurisdiction, powers and positions of its Commissioners under the Industrial Relations Act 1979 have not changed.  However, it contended that the introduction to Parliament of the Contractual Benefits Bill 2007, the Employment Dispute Resolution Bill 2007 and the Industrial and Related Legislation Amendment Bill 2007 had the potential to increase its jurisdiction and hence its workload.

The submission also drew to the attention of the Tribunal the requirement under the Owner Drivers (Contracts and Disputes) Act 2007 for a member of the WAIRC to sit as the Road Freight Transport Industry Tribunal.

The Government, in its submission, submitted that wages increases of public sector employees should aim to “achieve outcomes that neither lead nor lag wages in the Western Australian economy, whilst also ensuring these outcomes keep pace with inflation and are economically and industrially sustainable’.

CONSIDERATIONS

The Tribunal has taken account of the points made in each submission. It has acknowledged the reduced work load experienced by the WAIRC in the past 12months and has accepted the proposition that the effect of the Commonwealth’s Work Choices legislation in Western Australia has been similar to that in other State jurisdictions.  Furthermore, the Tribunal has accepted that the WAIRC’s jurisdiction and powers under its Act remain unchanged.  The Tribunal is conscious that the situation is still in a state of flux pending the passage of legislation in Western Australia and changes proposed by the new Commonwealth Government.

The Tribunal acknowledges that future changes to the jurisdiction of the WAIRC might have an impact on the remuneration of members. It also notes that interstate comparisons can be a useful check as to the relevance of current rates.  However, the authority of industrial relations commissions across Australia differs such that direct comparisons are not valid.  At the best, they provide a guide to the Tribunal in making this determination.  Accordingly, the Tribunal has given more weight to the framework of judicial and quasi-judicial rates of remuneration in Western Australia.

In its deliberations on the Commissioners’ remuneration rates, the Tribunal has given consideration to a range of economic indices.  These have included the latest relevant data issued by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, such as the Perth December 2007 Quarter Consumer Price Index (3 per cent annual average) and the Western Australian December 2007 Wage Price Index (5.9 per cent annual average).

The Tribunal has also been mindful of increases received by other office holders under its jurisdiction over the past twelve months.

DETERMINATION

The Tribunal, pursuant to section 6(1)(e) of the Salaries and Allowances Act 1975, determines the Commissioners of the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission will receive the amounts specified in the attached Schedule.  This provides for an increase of 4.2 percent in remuneration with effect from the 1st of May 2008.

The determination will now issue.

Signed at Perth this 20th day of March 2008.

Professor M C Wood W S Coleman AM M L Nadebaum
CHAIRMAN MEMBER MEMBER


SALARIES AND ALLOWANCES TRIBUNAL

 

SCHEDULE

Determination made on the Remuneration of Commissioners of the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission

1. Remuneration

1.1   Chief Commissioner - $282,730 per annum.

1.2   Senior Commissioner - $268,593 per annum.

1.3   Commissioner - $254,457 per annum.

2. Motor Vehicles

The following arrangements apply to the entitlement of each Commissioner to the provision of a fully maintained motor vehicle for business and private use.

2.1   The Chief Commissioner is entitled to the provision of a prestige vehicle, selected from the Government's Common Use Contract no. 012A1994, Items 1008 (Prestige Class) and 1009 (Restricted Prestige Class), as amended from time to time.

2.2   The Senior Commissioner and Commissioners are entitled to the provision of a prestige vehicle selected from Item 1008 (Prestige Class), as amended from time to time.

2.3   Vehicles with supercharged, turbo or V8 engines are not included.

2.4   The Chief Commissioner, Senior Commissioner and Commissioners may choose any vehicle and accessories in the Common Use Contract the total cost of which does not exceed the maximum cost of accessing a vehicle to which an entitlement exists in the relevant Prestige Class.  The total cost will be based on individual usage patterns. Each lease should be tailored to achieve the most cost-effective arrangement, but with the maximum lease term being two years, and include any standard accessories (including a tow bar or, for those entitled to a prestige vehicle selected from Item 1009, also a sunroof).  Where the total cost of the chosen vehicle and accessories exceeds the maximum cost of accessing a vehicle to which an entitlement exists in the relevant Prestige Class, the additional cost must be borne by the individual.  This includes the purchase cost of accessories, the installation cost and removal costs if required before disposal of the vehicle.

2.5   The Chief Commissioner must approve the selection of the vehicle for the Senior Commissioner and Commissioners.

2.6   The Chief Commissioner must approve that the provision of a 4-wheel drive vehicle is clearly substantiated by demonstrated operational need.

2.7   All vehicles (being part of the Government-owned State Fleet) should be managed in accordance with the policies and conditions established and amended from time to time by the Department of Treasury and Finance (the effective owner of the State Fleet).  Applicable terms and conditions are currently set out in the document, "State Fleet - Agency General Agreement".

2.8   Selection of appropriate vehicles should be subject to consultation between the Chief Commissioner and the Department of the Registrar of the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission (as the department administratively supporting the Commission and therefore the "Agency" responsible for managing the leasing arrangements for vehicles provided to Commissioners of the WAIRC).  Although the cost of the vehicles is centrally funded, as a consequence of the vehicle being an emolument recommended under the Salaries and Allowances Act 1975, it remains an administrative responsibility of the Department of the Registrar of the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission to manage in a cost effective manner.

Signed at Perth this 20th day of March 2008.

Professor M C Wood W S Coleman AM M L Nadebaum
CHAIRMAN MEMBER MEMBER


SALARIES AND ALLOWANCES TRIBUNAL

 

Acknowledgement of Country

The Government of Western Australia acknowledges the traditional custodians throughout Western Australia and their continuing connection to the land, waters and community. We pay our respects to all members of the Aboriginal communities and their cultures; and to Elders both past and present.