The Berejiklian Government has appointed leading IR silk Peter Kite as the NSW IRC’s first chief commissioner.

The appointment of the senior counsel to the new role follows the restructuring of the Commission under the Industrial Relations Amendment (Industrial Court) Bill 2016.

The legislation, passed on October 12 last year, abolished the Industrial Court and the role of its president, Michael Walton.

It also moved Justice Walton to the Supreme Court and reconstituted the tribunal so that it now consists of a chief commissioner and commissioners (see Related Article and the legislation’s explanatory notes).

The new law also redistributed the Industrial Court’s functions (see the explanatory notes).

Chief Commissioner Kite, who started last week, has had some experience on the bench, having served for six months from December 2014 as an acting deputy president of the Commission and acting judge of the Industrial Court.

Inaam Tabbaa, who has been acting in the chief commissioner role, continues as a commissioner, as does John Stanton, Peter Newall and John Murphy.

Former deputy president Rod Harrison, who retired in January last year, is continuing some work for the Commission.

Labor Leader in the Legislative Council and Shadow IR Minister Adam Searle MLC told Workplace Express the Opposition welcomes the appointment of the “well-respected and senior member of the industrial Bar” as chief commissioner and that he has already made a significant contribution in his time as an acting judge and deputy president.

He said the IRC’s complement of commissioners remains two short of what is needed, based on historical workloads and the need to have full benches decide appeals.


6 April 2017