26 September 2023

Industrial laws to include beating harassment

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New reforms to Queensland’s industrial laws are expected to see workers protected from sexual harassment as part of a number of changes announced by the Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk.

According to the Premier, the Bill to amend Queensland’s Industrial Relations Act 2016 (IR Act) was introduced to Parliament following an independent five-year review.

Ms Palaszczuk said the changes to the State’s industrial relations framework include:

* Strengthening protections for workers subject to sexual harassment, sex and gender-based harassment;

* Empowering the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) to set minimum conditions and entitlements for independent courier drivers;

* Improving entitlements under the Queensland Employment Standards, including parental and adoption leave;

* Enhancing effective representation of employers and employees by organisations registered under the Act; and

* Gender pay equity provisions introduced into the bargaining process.

Welcoming the changes to the Act, Minister for Industrial Relations, Grace Grace said the changes would ensure Queensland’s industrial protections remained consistent with the changing nature of work, and that the State’s industrial laws remained relevant for both employers and employees.

Ms Grace said the Government was committed to doing all it could to prevent sexual harassment and gender inequity.

“That’s why I am proud that the Palaszczuk Government is introducing nation-leading reforms which provide workers subject to this type of abhorrent conduct a variety of remedies available through the QIRC,” Ms Grace said.

She said the Bill also empowers the QIRC to make orders setting minimum conditions for independent courier drivers in the transport industry.

“Lack of regulation creates serious safety risks and impacts on the financial security of these workers, which is why we are taking action,” Ms Grace said.

“The Bill acknowledges the primacy of the role registered employer and employee organisations play,” she said.

“It will provide protections against those who make false and misleading claims about being able to represent the industrial interests of employers and employees under the Act,” the Minister said.

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