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AREEA boss to address 2013 West Coast Industry Forum

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AREEA CEO Steve Knott will today tell a Perth mining forum that inconsistent decisions and structural issues mean the Coalition Government must fast-track a new expert appeals body for the Fair Work Commission.

Addressing more than 200 resource professionals at the AREEA 2013 West Coast Industry Forum, chief executive Steve Knott will argue that Australia’s federal IR tribunal, the FWC, is suffering from ‘too many chiefs, not enough Indians’ and is dominated by Labor-affiliated appointees.

Mr Knott will also highlight the ‘politicking’ around the functions and role of the tribunal in the six years under Labor. Combined with an inefficient, top-heavy leadership structure, he will argue the politicisation of tribunal functions has undermined employer confidence in its decisions.

“In addition to the politicisation of appointments, including the demotion of existing members to make way for new Labor appointees, the inconsistent nature of some decisions handed down by different members of the commission signals the need for an independent appeal jurisdiction,” Mr Knott will say.

“AREEA would envisage the proposed appeal body consisting of a small, experienced expert panel of three to five members for each case, which could be part of the existing Fair Work Commission to avoid the expense of establishing a new tribunal and the associated infrastructure.

“This would hopefully have the effect of bringing some much-needed rigour and accountability into the decision-making processes of single commissioners. It would also be in step with international practice in this area and allow a semblance of independence and impartiality to be maintained.”

For the full copy of the speech, click here.

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