All Non Public Queensland Employers Now Covered by the Fair Work Act

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The Fair Work (Commonwealth Powers) and Other Provisions Act 2009 (Qld) (“the Act”) was passed by the Queensland Parliament on 11 November 2009 and the provisions took effect on 1 January 2010.

The Act refers the power to make laws in respect of all employers in Queensland from the Queensland Government to the Commonwealth Government, with the certain exceptions set out below.

Under the Act, the referral is achieved by:

  1. Extending the application of the text of the Fair Work Act 2009 to the Queensland Private Sector;
  2. For Queensland employers that are not trading or financial corporations, allowing the Commonwealth Government to amend the Fair Work Act 2009 so far as it deals with referred subject matters; and
  3. Implementing, in conjunction with the corresponding Federal legislation, transitional arrangements for employers and employees moving from the State to the Commonwealth system, including the following mechanisms:
  4. Preservation of State Awards and Agreements as Federal instruments in the same terms as the state instrument, operating on a “no detriment” basis with the national employment standards and the Federal minimum wage.
  5.  Preservation of State Awards as Federal instruments which will continue for a period of 12 months after which time the relevant Modern Award will apply;
  6. Continuing operation of State Agreements as Federal instruments until they are terminated or replaced by an Enterprise Agreement made under the Fair Work Act 2009.


Queensland’s State Industrial Relation System will continue to apply to some 300,000.00 employees in the State Public Service and Local Government. People who will not be brought into the Federal system include:

  1. Minister and Members of Queensland Parliament;
  2. The Governor and the office of the Governor;
  3. Judges and Members of the State Tribunal;
  4. State Public Sector Employees and Employers;
  5. People appointed by the Government under any State legislation;
  6. Officers and Employees of the parliamentary service;
  7. State Law Enforcement Officers;
  8. Local Government Sector Employees.


Queensland Private Sector Employers who currently operate within the State Industrial Relation System need to prepare themselves for the transition to the federal system. All transferring employers will be subject to the new safety net of basic employment entitlements known as the National Employment Standards.

There is a transitional period of 12 months where Queensland employers will continue to operate using the State instruments, however the National Employment Standards will commence immediately. It may be necessary to update contracts of employment to bring them into line with the Federal System. Failure to do so could result in prosecution and penalties being imposed.

Ferguson Cannon Lawyers can assist Queensland private employers through the complex legal system relating to transferring employers. Please contact Tony Pattinson, solicitor or Jim Carlile, Consultant to ensure you are ready.

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Category: Business & Corporate Services, Employment Law, Fact Finders, General, Industrial Relations

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