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Monday, 12 October 2015
Page: 7361

Senator CASH (Western AustraliaMinister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service, Minister for Employment and Minister for Women) (18:17): I am not quite sure, Senator Cameron, if you understand exactly what the provisions that are proposed are going to do. If the employer and the relevant union or unions reach an agreement, the existing process and requirements for approval by the Fair Work Commission remain the same because the employer and the union or unions have managed to reach an agreement—as one would expect would happen in the majority of cases.

If there is a case where an agreement cannot be reached within the six-month time frame, the employee will be able to take the proposed agreement to the Fair Work Commission for approval, the independent umpire. That agreement though will have to satisfy a new requirement. This, again, is another added layer of safety that currently does not exist under the legislation that you brought in—that is, the agreement provides for the pay and conditions that are consistent with prevailing industry standards for equivalent work as well as satisfying the existing approval requirements under the Fair Work Act. So there is now an additional layer of safety requirements that is in-built into this part of the process.