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Tuesday, 7 April 1998
Page: 2716

Mr Martin Ferguson asked the Minister for Workplace Relations and Small Business, on notice, upon 2 March 1998:

(1) What are the salary and terms and conditions of employment of each office bearer and member of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC).

(2) Who was appointed to the AIRC during 1997.

(3) Following changes to superannuation legislation, are office bearers and members of the AIRC required to contribute to a superannuation scheme.

(4) Was the requirement for employee contributions to superannuation discussed during the appointment of the President of the AIRC.

(5) Who left the AIRC during 1997.

(6) What was the reason for each departure referred to in part (5).

(7) What was the basis of severance payments for each person who left the AIRC in 1997 on grounds other than retirement and what sum did the person receive.

(8) How was the basis for severance payments determined and who was consulted in preparing the severance package.

(9) Was the fact that superannuation had been of a non-contributory nature for some members considered when severance packages were determined.

(10) Are there vacancies in the AIRC.

(11) What is the gross weekly wage of each classification covered by the hospitality industry award which was the subject of the recent AIRC decision in the Award Simplification Case.

(12) What total income would a person employed in each classification receive if that person was the sole income earner in a family with two children and Family Payment and Additional Family Payment were included.

Mr Reith (Workplace Relations and Small Business) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) Under section 8 of the Workplace Relations Act 1996 (the WR Act), the AIRC consists of a President, two Vice Presidents and a number of other Presidential members (ie. Senior Deputy Presidents and Deputy Presidents) and Commissioners. All are appointed by the Governor-General.

Remuneration of AIRC members is prescribed by sections 21 and 23 of the WR Act. These are linked to the salaries payable to Judges of the Federal Court of Australia. Effective from 19 August 1997, the following annual salary rates apply: President—$202,526; Vice President—$191,114; Senior Deputy President—$185,548; Deputy President—$176,271; Commissioner—$123,390.

AIRC members are entitled to travelling allowance as prescribed by the Industrial Relations (Allowances) Regulations.

Presidential members are entitled to benefits under the Judges' Pensions Act 1968 and the Judges' (Long Leave Payments) Act 1979.

Commissioners are eligible for superannuation scheme membership under the Superannuation Act 1976 (if appointed prior to 1 July 1990) or the Superannuation Act 1990 (if appointed after that date). Under a determination of the Remuneration Tribunal (Det 33/94), Commissioners accrue four weeks annual leave on the same basis as Senior Executive Service officers of the Australian Public Service and are covered by the Commonwealth Employees (Long Service Leave) Act 1976.

A member of the Commission holds office until the member resigns, is removed from office or attains the age of 65 years (section 16 of the WR Act).

(2) The Hon Mr Justice Geoffrey Giudice was appointed as President effective from 17 September 1997.

The Hon Mr Justice William Fisher, President of the New South Wales Industrial Relations Commission, was concurrently appointed as a Deputy President of the AIRC on 8 December 1997.

(3) The Judges' Pensions Act 1968 is a non-contributory superannuation scheme. Members covered by either the Superannuation Act 1976 or the Superannuation Act 1990 are required to pay an employee contribution towards their superannuation.

(4) As with any statutory appointment within the Commonwealth, the terms and conditions of appointment were explained to the President.

(5) The following ceased to be members of the AIRC during the 1997 calendar year:

. the Hon Justice D F O'Connor

. Senior Deputy President Hancock

. Commissioner Dight

. Commissioner Nolan

. Commissioner Oldmeadow

(6) Each member referred to above, with the exception of Commissioner Dight, who passed away, resigned under section 29 of the WR Act.

Justice O'Connor resigned and returned to her duties as a judge of the Federal Court of Australia. Senior Deputy President Hancock, Commissioner Oldmeadow and Commissioner Nolan took early voluntary retirement as part of the restructuring of the Commission by the former President. This occurred in the context of changes to the level and geographic distribution of the Commission's work following the commencement of the WR Act.

To achieve the restructuring, the President offered members the opportunity to perform their duties on a part-time basis, or to change their place of residence from a relatively lower workload area to a higher workload area, or to retire early (Commission members normally have tenure to the age of 65 years).

(7) There were no severance payments other than for retirement. Members who wished to retire early on the basis referred to above were entitled to a payment up to a maximum of 18 months salary, in addition to any other accrued entitlements. This was arrived at by reference to a base amount and an additional amount calculated with regard to the member's length of service and years of service foregone by early retirement. Members with less than one year of service before retirement were excluded.

Senior Deputy President Hancock, Commissioner Oldmeadow and Commissioner Nolan were each paid 18 months salary on this basis.

(8) The basis of the payments for early retirement was developed by my department, having regard to the tenure arrangements for Commission members. The department sought informal advice from the President of the Remuneration Tribunal who indicated that the Tribunal considered the proposed scheme was appropriate in the circumstances. The department also consulted the Industrial Registrar, the Attorney General's Department, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Department of Finance, the Australian Taxation Office and the Commissioner for Superannuation. I informed the Prime Minister and the Minister for Finance of the then President's restructuring of the AIRC and the proposed early retirement arrangements.

(9) No.

(10) The positions of President and the Vice Presidents are currently occupied. The Governor-General appoints such number of other Presidential members and Commissioners as are required from time to time.

(11) The gross weekly wage (award rate per week) for each classification of hospitality industry worker (full-time employees) is:

General employees

Introductory Level


Level 1


Level 2


Level 3


Level 4


Level 5


Level 6


Casino/Gaming Tasmania

Keno Operators

First 3 months service


On completion of 3 months service


On completion of 12 months service


On completion of 24 months service and thereafter


Croupier and/or Dealer

First 3 months service


On completion of 3 months service


On completion of 12 months service


On completion of 18 months service


On completion of 24 months service and thereafter


Inspector and/or Cashier

First 12 months service


On completion of 12 months service


On completion of 18 months service


On completion of 24 months service


Camera Surveillance Operator

First 12 months service


On completion of 12 months service


On completion of 18 months service


On completion of 24 months service


(12) This is a matter for the Minister for Social Security.