Government sends IRC to Parramatta

It’s official, the NSW IRC will be moving to 10 Smith Street Parramatta later this year or early next year.  The lease is signed. 

The writing was on the wall for the future of the IRC when the Government split the Industrial Court from the Industrial Relations Commission structure and sent it to the Supreme Court in December 2016.  It was just a matter of time.

Early this year the news leaked out that the Government was planning to evict the IRC from their magnificent Bridge Street sandstone building.  The PSA, the union covering employees of the state government filed a dispute and all unions which participate in the New South Wales system intervened, including us.  It was, as is the tendency of this Government, cloaked in secrecy, not discussed with those affected, whether they be the employees of the IRC including the Commissioners, nor the various parties who appear in the Commission every day.
 
UnionsNSW coordinated the unions’ opposition and the move was universally opposed by employer organisations (including LGNSW), the Law Society on behalf of solicitors and the Bar Association on behalf of barristers.  Initially it was impossible to find who had actually made the decision, so was hard to know what Minister to see.  Regardless, at no stage was a credible argument put to justify the move.

The best the Government had was that this was part of their strategy of moving public servants out of the CBD.  Nonsense really, considering that there are 10 employees of the Industrial Relations Commission and five Commissioners - two of whom, Commissioner Newall and Commissioner Seymour, have voted with their feet and resigned rather than go to Parramatta. 

Last week the Treasurer/IR Minister Dominic Perrottet argued the relocation “will be a huge boost for the area that will help grow the local economy, create new jobs and reduce congestion in the Sydney CBD”.  BS, really.

Premier Gladys admires IR Minister talking through his hat
 
The Government didn’t consult with the members of the Commission and following the resignation of the two Commissioners, Treasury set a recruitment process in train without any discussion with the remaining members of the Commission.  What would Treasury know?

It’s really that the Government can flog off a nice long lucrative lease of this magnificent building to greedy rapacious developers.  A disgrace.

And a disgrace made worse by the clear implication that this is all happening because the Premier hates the IRC.  While she hates it, she still likes to control it because she could cede the state’s industrial relations powers to Fair Work, but she wants to keep a hamstrung IRC, operating under the restrictions of a Public Sector Pay Policy set by the Government, so she can enforce the dreaded 2.5% limit. 

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