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Tuesday, 16 November 2004
Page: 125


Senator Murray asked the Minister representing the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, upon notice, on 10 August 2004:

(1) With reference to agreements under the Workplace Relations Act 1996, can figures be provided for: (a) the number of agreements in force; (b) the number of businesses covered; and (c) the number of employees covered by each of the following: awards, collective union agreements, collective non-union agreements, statutory individual agreements, and any other industrial instruments.

(2) Can a breakdown be provided for the States of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia of the information sought in (1) for each type of agreement.

(3) Can estimates be provided of the number of businesses and the number of employees not covered by awards or agreements under either federal or State workplace/industrial relations laws.


Senator Abetz (Special Minister of State) —The Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) (a) The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR) estimates that as at 30 June 2004 there were 14,874 current Certified Agreements made under the Workplace Relations Act 1996 (the WR Act). Current agreements are agreements that have not been terminated nor reached an expiry date. The Office of the Employment Advocate (OEA) estimates that as at 30 June 2004 a total of 503,552 Australian Workplace Agreements had been approved by the Employment Advocate in accordance with the WR Act.

(b) According to DEWR, there is no reliable estimate of the number of businesses covered by the agreements made under the WR Act.

(c) DEWR estimates that, as at 30 June 2004, employee coverage for certified agreements was:

Union agreements - 1,305,400 employees

Non-union agreements - 166,100 employees

Unpublished data from the ABS Employee Earnings and Hours survey (ABS Catalogue No. 6306.0) estimates the following breakdown of award and agreement coverage presented as a percentage of the total workforce as at May 2002:

Table 1

Awards only (Federal and State)

Registered Federal Collective Agreements

Registered State Collective Agreements

Unregistered Collective Agreements

Registered Federal Individual Agreements

Registered State Individual Agreements

Unregistered Individual Agreements

Australia

20.5%

23.0%

13.0%

2.2%

1.2%

0.8%

39.3%

Unregistered Individual Agreements include employees whose pay is set by an individual common law contract, employees receiving overaward payments by individual agreement and working proprietors of incorporated enterprises who set their own rate of pay.

(2) According to DEWR there are no reliable estimates showing the State breakdown of certified agreements made in accordance with the WR Act. Many certified agreements operate Australia-wide or in more than one State or Territory.

OEA estimates show the State breakdown of Australian Workplace Agreements as follows (rounded to the nearest 100):

(i) Western Australia, 121,800

(ii) New South Wales, 121,600

(iii) Queensland, 62,400

(iv) South Australia, 46,700

(v) Tasmania , 17,400

According to unpublished data from the ABS Employee Earnings and Hours survey the State breakdown of award and agreement coverage presented as a percentage of the total workforce at May 2002 is as follows:

Awards only (Federal and State)

Registered Federal Collective Agreements

Registered State Collective Agreements

Unregistered Collective Agreements

Registered Federal Individual Agreements

Registered State Individual Agreements

Unregistered Individual Agreements

New South Wales

21.3%

15.5%

17.9%

2.0%

1.0%

0.0%

42.4%

Queensland

24.6

16.9

21.7

2.4

0.8

0.5

33.1

SouthAustralia

25.1

22.1

16.2

0.9

1.0

0.0

34.7

Western Australia

15.0

17.6

16.8

1.7

1.7

7.7

39.5

Tasmania

23.8

26.2

12.6

8.5

1.4

0.0

27.4

(3) According to DEWR, there are no reliable estimates of the number of businesses and the number of employees not covered by awards or agreements under either federal or State workplace/industrial relations laws.