30 August 2019
The Minister for the Public Service and Employee Relations, the Hon Don Harwin MLC, today said that his government would not extend the term of office of the Chief Commissioner of the Industrial Relations Commission of NSW, Peter Kite SC.
This is despite the Berejiklian Government raising judicial retirement ages from 72 to 75, so judges like the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court could continue to serve beyond age 72.
The Berejiklian Government has also used an existing legal measure to extend the term of office of two other Commissioners of the IRC for a further three years, from age 65 to 68. Under current law, Commissioners must retire at 65 unless their term of office is extended for up to 3 more years.
The current IRC Chief Commissioner will turn 65 later this year.
“The Berejiklian Government is applying a clear double standard to the leadership of the Industrial Relations Commission of NSW – the independent umpire looking after working people” — Adam Searle MLC, Labor Leader in the Legislative Council and Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations
“This government has extended the retirement ages for judges and even extended the term of office of two other members of the same tribunal IRC,” Mr Searle said.
“Despite repeated questioning at Budget Estimates, the Minister has refused to say why the Berejiklian Government would not do the same for the current Chief Commissioner of the IRC, who is very highly regarded and enjoys broad support across the industrial relations landscape.
“It is a matter of record that over the last two years an increasing number of industrial disputes have involved public sector employers not properly or fully complying with their obligation to consult workers on changes to their workplaces. The IRC has rightly required that these obligations be properly followed, regardless of the eventual outcomes.
“Now it seems that the Berejiklian Government is unhappy with the IRC acting independently, as it is required to by law.”