In brief

  • Yesterday, the Victorian Government announced that it would review its current Industrial Relations Principles 2003.
  • The current Industrial Relations Principles were introduced by the Labor Government in 2003, and, according to the State government, have failed to encourage best-practice workplace arrangements. 
  • It is likely that the review will lead to new principles that will impose more rigorous requirements on firms tendering for State government building and construction work. 
  • The new principles appear to be part of the new State government’s strategy to promote productivity, compliance and cultural change in the Victorian building and construction industry.

On Wednesday 22 June 2011, the Victorian State government announced a review of the State’s Industrial Relations Principles 2003 (IR Principles).1 The IR Principles were first introduced by the Labor Government in 2003, and are a part of the Victorian Code of Practice for the Building and Construction Industry 1999.2

Mr Baillieu said that the ‘review will lead to new principles that will impose more rigorous requirements on building firms tendering for State government building and construction work.’

Mr Baillieu also said that ‘the Coalition Government’s intention in reviewing these principles is to ensure that the workplace arrangements and practices applying to firms which tender for State government contracts comply with applicable workplace laws and to promote productivity.’

Specifically, Mr Baillieu referred to the fact that the current principles do not refer to freedom of association, or the right of an employee to join or not join the union. He indicated that the aim of the review would be to introduce new principles, which are modelled on guidelines that operate at Commonwealth level.

This development appears to be a part of the new State government’s strategy to promote productivity, compliance and cultural change in the Victorian building and construction industry, with firms who tender for Victorian government construction work required to comply with the more rigorous new principles as a condition of securing the work.

The government has indicated that draft principles will be released later in the year, with an opportunity for public comment and feedback before the finalised IR principles take effect.